Washington Law Enforcement Deaths and Illegal Guns

An Everytown for Gun Safety 2014 analysis of FBI data shows that nearly two-thirds of Washington State police officers shot to death over the last 30 years were killed by people who were barred from possessing firearms.

To conduct the analysis, Everytown for Gun Safety obtained the FBI’s Law Enforcement Officers Killed and Assaulted (LEOKA) database covering felonious deaths of law enforcement from 1980 to 2011 and updated it with additional incidents located through press clippings. For all incidents in which an officer was killed with a firearm that was not their own, Everytown identified the assailant and then researched state and federal criminal records and contemporaneous newspaper records to determine if the individual was prohibited by law from possessing firearms.

Of the 36 Washington State law enforcement officers murdered between 1980 and 2013, 28 were killed with firearms that were not their own. And of those gun murders, at least seventeen — 61 percent — were committed by individuals who were prohibited from possessing firearms.

Police are at the front line of gun violence, and no laws can completely ensure their safety—but strong gun laws that reduce the flow of guns to criminals can help save lives. Expanding background checks to cover all gun sales — including those between strangers at gun shows and online — will protect cops. In states that require background checks for every gun sale, police are 39 percent less likely to be killed with handguns. Everytown for Gun Safety analysis of FBI data, March 2013, available at bit.ly/1hAySn8.

 

 

SHOOTER LIKELY PROHIBITED: 17 OFFICERS KILLED

February 23, 2012 | Gorst: Joshua Blake, 28, shot and killed State Trooper Tony Vian Radulescu, 44, with a handgun. Blake was prohibited from owning firearms under federal law due to multiple felony convictions, including a 2005 conviction for assaulting his pregnant girlfriend. He was also prohibited under state law because he had been convicted of fourth-degree assault. “Suspect in Trooper’s Death Shoots, Kills Himself,” Komo News, February 23, 2012, available at bit.ly/1uvZd8w; Brett Cihon, “Trooper’s killer had violent, drug-abusing past,” Port Orchard Independent, Feb. 23, 2012, at bit.ly/1mC9vxn.

November 29, 2009 | Lakewood: Maurice Clemmons, 37, shot and killed Officer Ronald Wilbur Owens II, 37, Sergeant Mark Joseph Renninger, 39, Officer Tina G. Griswold, 40, and Officer Gregory James Richards, 42, with a handgun. Clemmons was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to several felony convictions, including aggravated robbery, burglary, and illegal possession of a firearm.Jim Brunner and Susan Kelleher, “Persuasive appeal helped Clemmons win clemency,” Seattle Times, Nov. 30, 2009, at bit.ly/1n3rXjX. In May 2009, Clemmons assaulted a Pierce County Sheriff’s deputy,Nick Perry, Maureen O’Hagan, Jonathan Martin and Ken Armstrong, “Four days in May set stage for Sunday’s tragedy,” Seattle Times, Nov 30, 2009, at bit.ly/1qnoD5N. and later that year he was charged with felony rape of a child—an indictment that also prohibited him from possessing a firearm at the time of the shootings.Seattle Times, “Suspect let out of Pierce County jail one week ago,” Seattle Times, Nov. 29, 2009, at bit.ly/1mC9mdn. Clemmons was shot by police two days later.

September 20, 2008 | Vancouver: Shawn M. Roe, 36, shot and killed Officer Kristine Marie Fairbanks, 51, with a .22 caliber handgun when she was investigating a van without license plates at a campground. Roe had several firearms on him at the time, including a 9mm Glock he had stolen from a friend. Roe had a long history of domestic violence: He had allegedly beaten his wife and repeatedly threatened to kill her, and had been served with multiple protective orders. A 2007 conviction of felony unlawful imprisonment after a domestic violence incident prohibited him from owning guns. Christine Clarridge and Jennifer Sullivan, “Suspect in 2 Sequim killings “was a walking time bomb,” Seattle Times, Sept. 23, 2008, at bit.ly/1kMjJia.

September 2, 2008 | Alger: Isaac Zamora, 32, shot and killed six people, including Deputy Sheriff Anne Marie Jackson, 40, with a rifle he stole from a neighbor’s house, just a month after finishing a six-month sentence in Skagit County Jail for a drug offense. Dan Frosch, “Man Charged With Killing Six in Washington State,” New York Times, Sept. 3, 2008, at nyti.ms/Vpn50l; Jennifer Sullivan, “Isaac Zamora deemed too dangerous, sent to state prison for now," Seattle Times, Dec. 5, 2012, at bit.ly/1ik9q04. He was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a 2007 felony conviction for second-degree malicious mischief.Maureen O’Hagan and Michael J. Berens, “Shooting-rampage suspect described as deeply troubled,” Seattle Times, Sept. 4, 2008, at bit.ly/1qabdYC. He also had a history of mental illness and had reportedly been involuntarily committed to a mental hospital for several weeks in 2003—which may also have prohibited him from possessing a firearm.Ibid.

December 2, 2006 | Seattle: Raymond Oliver Porter, 23, shot and killed Deputy Sheriff Steve E. Cox, 49, with a handgun and then committed suicide. Porter had an extensive criminal history, including two offenses which prohibited him from possessing firearms: a drug conviction in February 2003 for which he was sentenced to two years in prison and two years of community supervision; and a first degree escape conviction in 2004, for which he was sentenced to two years and nine months in prison. Porter had also been convicted for harassment, criminal trespass, and additional drug violations in 2001. He was released from prison in early August 2006, four months before shooting Cox to death. Hector Castro, “Deputy’s killer was part of gang,” Seattle PI, Dec. 3, 2006, at bit.ly/1pAyi9d.

March 7, 2001 | Des Moines: Charles Champion, 18, shot and killed Master Police Officer Steven J. Underwood, 33, with a handgun. Champion was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to the fact that at the time of the shooting he was under indictment for felony assault against the mother of his child. Champion had a criminal history, including convictions for malicious mischief, obstructing a police officer after firing at cars in a park-and-ride lot with an air rifle, and attempting to sell cocaine. Peyton Whitely and Christine Clarridge, “Slain Des Moines officer left a key clue,” Seattle Times, March 9, 2001, at bit.ly/1oQmC0B; “Charles Champion Pleads Guilty,” KOMO News, Nov.23, 2004, at bit.ly/1sGFnJo.

October 7, 1999 | Pasco: Nicolas Solorio Vasquez, 29, shot and killed State Trooper James E. Saunders, 31, with a handgun. Vasquez was prohibited from possessing a firearm because he was an undocumented alien, a convicted felon, and was under indictment for drug trafficking.Behind the Badge Foundation, Aug. 14, 2014 at bit.ly/1l3XRKm.

March 25, 1998 | Omak: Juan Duarte Gonzales, 41, shot and killed Patrol Officer Michael W. Marshall, 43, with a handgun. Gonzalez was prohibited from possessing firearms because of a 1995 conviction for raping a child and because he was an undocumented alien.The AP, “Man Held In Slaying Of Omak Officer Had Been Deported Twice,” Seattle Times, March 29, 1998, available at bit.ly/1jhSPu1.

August 15, 1994 | Snohomish: Charles Ben Finch, 51, shot and killed Sergeant James Kenneth Kinard, 34, with a handgun he had purchased from a co-worker on the day of the crime. Finch was prohibited from possessing a firearm due to a 1970 conviction of assault and battery with a deadly weapon, a 1976 first-degree manslaughter conviction, and a 1979 first-degree rape conviction.R. David LaCourse, “Three Strikes, You’re Out: A Review,” Washington Police Center, Jan. 1997, at bit.ly/Y9e3qr. Finch was initially sentenced to death for the murder of Sergeant Kinard, but in 2000 his sentence was commuted to life in prison; he later committed suicide in jail.State of Washington v. Charles Ben Finch, 975 P.2d 967 (1999).

June 4, 1994 | Seattle: Detective Antonio Martinez Terry stopped to help Quentin Ervin, 17, and Eric L. Smiley, 25, whose vehicle had broken down on an Interstate 5 off-ramp. Terry, who was in plainclothes, was fatally shot with a handgun. According to the King County Prosecutor, it is not clear which of Ervin or Smiley fired the shot that killed Terry: Both perpetrators fired the gun, and both were prohibited from owning guns.Jennifer Sullivan, “Officer’s killer pleads guilty to first-degree murder in 1994 case,” May 19, 2008, Seattle Times, at bit.ly/1l2pTdS. Ervin was prohibited due to his age; he had also been previously convicted of second-degree robbery and criminal trespass for unlawfully trespassing on police property.Daryl Strickland, Anne Koch, Diedtra Henderson, Helen E. Jung, “Teen Held In Officer’s Slaying Has Long Record -- Two Others Held; Police Still Trying To Explain Shooting,” Seattle Times, June 6, 1994, at bit.ly/1pRbW3N. Smiley was prohibited due to multiple felony convictions, including burglary in 1988 and illegal possession of a firearm in 1993.Washington Department of Corrections. Aug. 15, 2014.

August 27, 1986 | Nespelem: Elmer McGinnis, 64, and Patrick G. Hoffman, 47, were both convicted for shooting and killing Sergeant Louis A. Millard, 31.State v. Hoffman, 16 Wn.2d 51, (Wa. 1991), 804 P.2d 577 at bit.ly/1pZUbB6. Hoffman was prohibited from buying a gun at the time, having previously been convicted of felony carnal knowledge of a child and felony assault.Washington Department of Corrections. Aug. 15, 2014.

July 18, 1983 | Spokane: Lonnie James Link, 25, shot and killed Detective Brian Frederick Orchard, 38, with a handgun during an undercover stakeout. In 1981, Link served a 13-month sentence in a Montana state prison for violating provisions of a 1978 deferred burglary conviction in Missoula, which likely prohibited him from owning guns. “Montana parole board was unaware of Link’s past,” Spokane Chronicle, July 28, 1983, available at bit.ly/UqJfQh; “Lonnie Link requests arraignment delay,” Spokesman- Review, July 27, 1983, at bit.ly/1kWYefR.

June 24, 1983 | Flaming Geyser State Park, King County: Robert Wayne Hughes, 29, shot and killed Detective Sergeant Samuel A. Hicks, 38, with a handgun. Hughes was prohibited due to a prior conviction for violating his parole, and he had also been previously convicted of assault, escape, burglary, and robbery.Washington Department of Corrections. August 15, 2014. At the time of the shooting, Hughes was a suspect in another shooting death that had occurred in the Seattle-Tacoma area two weeks prior.State v. Hughes, 721 P.2d 902 (Wa 1986) at bit.ly/SKeNzk.

April 16, 1980 | Hoquiam: Rodney Hagedorn, 51, shot and killed Patrolman Donald Martin Burke, 37, with a handgun. Hagedorn and accomplice Robert DeAngelis, 53, had committed two robberies the week before the shooting, and Hagedorn shot and killed Burke when he attempted to stop their vehicle. Responding police subsequently shot and killed Hagedorn; DeAngelis was arrested, convicted, and later died in prison. Criminal records naming Hagedorn are no longer available in Washington State or in public databases given the time elapsed since his offenses, but at the time of the police shooting the Spokane Daily Chronicle reported that Hagedorn was a “convicted robber,” which would likely have prohibited him from owning guns.“Dead Officer Praised,” Spokane Daily Chronicle, Apr. 18, 1980, at bit.ly/1ywtlRa.

SHOOTER NOT PROHIBITED: 8 OFFICERS KILLED

December 21, 2009 | Eatonville: David Crable, 35, shot and killed Deputy Sheriff Walter Kent Mundell, Jr., 44, with a handgun. In 2009, Crable was convicted of malicious mischief and displaying a weapon with intent to intimidate. He received a sentence of nearly two years. Crable also had a history of domestic violence; he had several restraining orders issued against him by his brother and mother (which were both lifted by the complainants).“Deputies Remain Hospitalized After Shooting,” kirotv.com, Dec. 22, 2009 at bit.ly/1kMkjwx.

October 31, 2009 | Seattle: Christopher Monfort shot and killed Officer Timothy Q. Brenton, 39, with a handgun. Monfort had no criminal record at the time of the incident.“Suspect in officer’s shooting described as ‘smart, mature’,” KOMO news, Nov. 7, 2009, at bit.ly/1mCaYE4.

August 5, 2000 | Port Angeles: Thomas Martin Roberts, 53, shot and killed Deputy Sheriff Wallace Edward Davis, 48, with a shotgun. Roberts has a history of mental illness, including court ordered mental evaluations in 1996 and 1999. In both evaluations, he was held for 72 hours, medicated and released, but not formally committed by a judge, and therefore not prohibited from possessing guns under federal law. In 1996, Roberts’ wife Madonna Sue filed a complaint stating that he physically assaulted her, but the case was dismissed due to Roberts’s participation in a domestic-violence counseling program. Despite this history, the Clallam County Sheriff’s Office issued a concealed weapons permit to Roberts in 1997, valid for five years. After the shooting of Deputy Sheriff Davis, the Sheriff said Roberts had passed an extensive criminal background check, explaining: “We lack the ability to get mental health information.” In the 13 months preceding the shooting, deputies had responded nine times to the Roberts’s home either because of complaints about Roberts’s behavior or because of calls he placed to 911, but none of their incident reports mentioned guns.“Man Charged In Killing Of Deputy Had Permit For Concealed Weapons,” KOMO news, Aug. 31, 2006 at bit.ly/1kX29ZS.

August 28, 1997 | Tacoma: Sap Kray, 45, shot and killed Police Officer William Francis Lowry, 39, with an assault rifle. According to police, Kray did not have a criminal record.Associated Press, “Police officer killed in Tacoma shooting,” DNews, Aug. 29, 1997, at bit.ly/1pAAcGI.

October 16, 1995 | Tacoma: Brian Thomas Eggleston, 25, shot and killed Deputy Sheriff John Bananola, 36, with a handgun when law enforcement raided his house on a tip that weapons were stored at the residence. Eggleston had no criminal history, and there is no evidence he was prohibited from possessing a firearm.Seattle Times, October 19, 1995. “Correction,” available at bit.ly/1oN70hr. Contrary to previous reports that misidentified the shooter as Brian Lewis Eggleston, the shooter had no criminal history.

November 14, 1987 | Coupeville: Darren Hutchinson, 26, shot and killed Deputy Sheriff William Joseph Heffernan, 45, and Deputy Sheriff John Robert Saxerud, 31, with a handgun. Hutchinson had a valid concealed pistol license and was not prohibited from possessing a firearm.Associated Press, “Deputies’ slaying suspects faces 2 first-degree murder charges,” Spokesman-Review, Nov. 17, 1987, at bit.ly/1nTGaPz.

April 23, 1985 | Seattle: Ray Albert Lewis, shot and killed officer Dale E. Eggers, 40, with a .410 sawed-off shotgun during a bank robbery. According to Behind the Badge Foundation, Lewis was on parole at the time of the incident.“Man charged with slaying policeman,” Spokesman-Review, May 2, 1985, at bit.ly/1vOjERT. But prosecutor Norm Maleng told a newspaper the investigation had not found Lewis to have any prior felony convictions. The Washington State Criminal Records Department has no record for Lewis.

November 10, 1984 | Buckley: James Carl Fischer, 32, shot and killed Wildlife Agent Terry L. Hoffer, 36, with a rifle. Fisher was trying to unload a hunting rifle at the time in order to avoid a citation when he accidently fired and hit Hoffer. Fischer was charged with first-degree manslaughter.Bud Leavitt, “Game wardens face danger in their duties,” Bangor Daily News, Jan. 9, 1985, at bit.ly/1n3stOV.

SHOOTER’S STATUS UNKNOWN: 2 OFFICERS KILLED

January 23, 1999 | Pierce County: Investigator Melvin Royce Journey, 66, was leaving his home in his assigned vehicle when he was ambushed and shot five times by Jackie Monroe Bentley, 32, and Michael Dorris Johnson, 27, members of an organized gang. Bentley and Johnson were charged with attempted murder, pled guilty, and agreed to testify as government witnesses; they each received sentences of 12 years.“Ambushed described for jury,” Spokane Daily Chronicle, April 4, 1979, at bit.ly/1nTKgai. As a result of the shooting Agent Journey received nineteen units of blood, some of which was infected with Hepatitis C—his death in 1999 was a direct result of the blood transfusions.Erin Emery, “Finally, the Recognition He Deserves: Falcon Widow Embraces Law Enforcement Honor,” Denver Post, May 14, 2001.

January 24, 1985 | Tacoma: Kenneth Schrader shot and killed Patrol Officer Craig Alan Nollmeyer, 33, with a handgun—after shooting his wife to death and attacking several other people, including a child.City of Tacoma, Roll Call of Honor, Aug. 14, 2014, at bit.ly/1pZWiF9.