Woman Killed by Stray Bullet in Spanaway Was Mother of Nine, Also Helped Raise Five Sisters


Angelina Palmer's only crime on her 39th birthday last month was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, her younger brother says.

Sheriff's deputies say Palmer, who has nine children and 11 siblings, was struck by a stray bullet from a confrontation she had no part in as she was leaving the 7-Eleven near 174th Street East and Pacific Avenue South in Spanaway on May 26. Another bullet fired from a car toward another vehicle struck a third car parked at a gas station pump but did not injure anyone.

The shooter remains at large, and deputies are still working to identify a suspect, according to Pierce County sheriff's spokesperson Sgt. Darren Moss.

"Do the right thing and turn yourself in," Willard Palmer told The News Tribune in an interview. "You took away a mother of 9, someone who was loved by so many."

The main event of summer for the Palmer family is normally a big reunion that Angelina Palmer had a large hand in planning each year at Spanaway Lake, her brother said. Instead, relatives are converging on their childhood city for an open-casket funeral slated for the end of June.

"This is going to be a huge event," Willard Palmer said. "We want to get all the kids together and all the siblings together."

For some of those siblings, Angelina Palmer was like a second mother, her brother said. When she was 21, she took in five of her sisters to stop them from being placed in foster care at the same time she was raising four children of her own. Willard Palmer took in four of his brothers.

"Angie would take on the role of big sister when it came to all of the sisters in the family," Willard Palmer said of the second eldest child in the family.

As their younger sisters were reaching womanhood, Willard Palmer remembers how his big sister was always there to help them cope with difficult and uncomfortable transitions.

She was also there for random strangers in their times of need, her brother said.

"She'd give you food or water or whatever you needed," Willard Palmer said. "She'd stop the car in the middle of the street to help you if you needed it. I saw it many, many times."

He added, "She was the light of the room. When she walked in, everyone knew she was there."

Angelina Palmer worked as a caretaker for the elderly before she was laid off during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to her brother. But her biggest passion was her children.

A few years ago, Angelina Palmer planned the "highlight of all of her kids' lives" in a trip to Disney World with Willard Palmer's family, her brother said.

"She was talking over and over about wanting to retake that trip," Willard Palmer said.

While Angelina Palmer was the big sister of the family, Willard Palmer said he's known as the problem solver.

"No matter what I do I cannot wake her up, and it feels really bad," Willard Palmer told The News Tribune.

He's channeling his energy into what he says will be a proper sendoff for his sister.

"I just want them to see their mom one more time," Willard Palmer said. "And I'm trying so hard for that to happen."

A GoFundMe set up to pay for Angelina Palmer's funeral expenses by her daughter, Kaya Lee, had raised nearly half of its $20,000 goal as of Friday afternoon.

The support has felt overwhelming to Willard Palmer

"It's very, very heartwarming to see the community seeing her as what she is: a mother," he told The News Tribune. "All those kids have lost their mother."

Lee wrote that they hope to bury her mother next to her grandfather.

"She was the best mother I could have ever asked for. She ALWAYS put her children first," Lee wrote on the GoFundMe page. "She would do whatever she could for us."