Memorial preparations begin for fallen Pierce Co. deputy


by KING and Staff

Posted on December 29, 2009 at 3:07 PM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 30 at 5:49 PM

SEATTLE - The body of fallen sheriff's Deputy Kent Mundell is back in Pierce County; now the work begins toward his memorial next Tuesday.

The deputy's body was escorted from the medical examiner's office in Seattle to a funeral home in Lakewood Tuesday afternoon.

A long line of law enforcement and other public servants accompanied the processional as the motorcade headed southbound on Interstate 5. When the motorcade arrived in Tacoma, people lined the streets to pay respect to Mundell and spoke of the tragedy: another law enforcement official gunned down.

"There've been six of them in the past 60 days. It needs to come to a stop," said one resident.

"You just wonder about the people doing all this. The police are getting hurt," said another.

"They were rescuing that family and I hope that's not a point that gets lost," said another. "They went out there and if they weren't there, somebody in that family, or all of that family was going to die."

The aid car carrying Mundell's body drove beneath an arch created by two fire engine ladders at the entrance of Mountain View Funeral Home in Lakewood. An American flag was hung from the arch.

Mundell died at Harborview Medical Center Monday night, one week after being shot during a domestic violence call. His family made the decision to take him off life support after doctors said there was no hope for recovery.

"The world is a little bit emptier place right now without Kent around," said Shawn Prether of the Graham Fire Department. "He was a good friend. He was a good police officer."

A memorial service will be held Tuesday, Jan. 5 at 1 p.m. at the Tacoma Dome. The public is invited to attend the memorial and line the procession route.

The procession will begin at 10 a.m. at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center, 110 9th Avenue SW. The route will start north on S. Meridian, veer right to Third Street SE then Second Street NE. It will then turn west onto River Road, continuing through on Bay Street where it will head west on Puyallup Avenue and proceed north on C Street to the Tacoma Dome.

Parking will be limited at the Tacoma Dome. The public is encouraged to use alternative parking areas.

The group Behind the Badge helps plan memorials for fallen officers. This will be the third memorial in Western Washington in two months.

"This has been the most dangerous year we can remember and the most fatal year for our officers." said Monroe police Sgt. Brian Johnson of Behind the Badge. "There is a sense of sadness when we respond. There is certainly a high degree of sadness for the people planning the ceremony. We all feel that."

While the costs could soar for the memorials, the bills are almost always paid by the generosity of strangers.

"The outpouring of support is truly tremendous. It is amazing. we have businesses and individuals offering anything you can think of, from printing to transportation any need we have to cover the costs," said Jody Woodcock of the memorial planning team.

Gov. Gregoire has ordered flags at all state agencies to be flown at half-staff until after the service.

Dozens of law enforcement officers from at least six different agencies visited Harborview in the hours before Mundell's death. Later that night, Mundell's casket, draped with an American flag, was moved to the King County Medical Examiner's Office. Law enforcement officers saluted as the casket passed them.

Mundell and Sgt. Nicholas Hausner were shot when they responded to domestic violence call Dec. 21 at a home in Eatonville. The suspect, David Crable, shot both men. Mundell, who was hit multiple times, fired back and killed Crable.

Hausner was hit in the neck and survived.

Mundell is the sixth Western Washington law enforcement officer to die by gunfire since Oct. 31. People who stopped to pay their respects along the motorcade route said they are fed up with the violence against police.

"We already had this once for the Lakewood officers and now we're doing this again. This shouldn't be going on," said Steve Garcia of Tacoma.

"Dirt bags are out on the street and I wish there was a way we could get rid of them," said Howard Moore of Graham."

"There's a line that people have crossed now. It's a scary thought," said another person.

Several funds have been set up for Mundell's wife and two children. You can contribute at:

  • Any branch of Columbia Bank.
  • Any branch of Tapco Credit Union, or on their Web site
  • The Pierce County Deputy Sheriffs Guild Web site

The sheriff's department tells The News Tribune it has already gotten complaints from citizens about bogus companies calling them trying to solicit donations for the Mundell family. Sheriff's office spokesman Det. Ed Troyer says the department does not support those companies and that you should not give any money over the phone.

Cards to the family or Police Department may be sent to Family of Deputy Kent Mundell or Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Mountain Detachment, P.O. Box 1489, Eatonville, WA 98328.

KING 5's Linda Brill and Kyle Moore contributed to this report.