TACOMA, Wash. – An officer died after being shot several times Wednesday night in Tacoma's Eastside neighborhood.
In a press conference overnight, Tacoma Police Chief Don Ramsdell delivered a short prepared statement. Chief Ramsdell expressed his condolences to the officer's family and gratitude to the Tacoma community for their support. He also announced the 45-year-old joined the department in 1999.
The male shooting suspect was shot and killed by police inside the home near East E St. and E. 52nd St.
Two kids, 8 and 11-years-old, were inside the home and rescued after the suspect was killed. Both children were taken to the hospital for a wellness check, but police believe they were not harmed.
The officer responded to a domestic call about 4 p.m. when the shooting took place, according to police. A neighbor said he heard two to three shots fired. The officer was transported to Tacoma General Hospital for surgery after the shooting, and police released his death about 9 p.m.
Several shots were fired in the area, including a series of shots about 7:30 p.m., where bangs were heard coming from the direction of the home.
Police were able to get adults and children out of the home following the shooting. Authorities do not believe anyone besides the suspect is still inside.
Kristi Croskey said she was in the home at the time of the shooting to retrieve some items she had left there. Croskey, who moved out of the home about seven months ago, said she knew the suspect and his wife and didn't know of any problems in the relationship.
"I'm caught off guard just like everybody else," Croskey said.
Sgt. Jim Barrett, Tacoma Police Union president, said the incident highlighted why violence against law enforcement cannot be tolerated.
"We choose this profession to try and make a difference. We sign up to help those in need," Barrett said. "In his career, this officer did just that. He made a difference in the lives of those he came in contact with. He may be gone, but he will never be forgotten."
About a hundred people came to honor the fallen officer during a procession that left the hospital and went to the medical examiner's office. There was also a large police presence at Tacoma General Hospital, and a chaplain arrived several hours after the officer was transported for surgery.
The shooting had an eerie sense of familiarity for some, as Tuesday marked the seventh anniversary of a Lakewood police shooting. In 2009, four Lakewood officers were shot to death at a coffee shop.
Retired Lakewood Police chief Bret Farrar said he hopes the community will be as supportive to Tacoma Police as they were after the Lakewood shooting. Farrar said the public's outpouring of support really helped his department heal.
"People wouldn't say anything, just shook our hands or give us a hug. It helped," Farrar said.
Dozen of law enforcement agencies and public figures shared condolences for the Tacoma Police Department. King County Sheriff John Uruquhart ordered all Sheriff's Deputies to wear mourning bands in honor of the fallen officer.
Gov. Jay Inslee said in a release that the officer's death was a reminder of the sacrifice law enforcement makes every day.
"All of Washington grieves with Tacoma, which tonight lost one of their finest," Inslee said in a statement.
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