2 Pierce Co. deputies badly wounded in ambush shooting


by KING5.com, Associated Press and CNN


Posted on December 22, 2009 at 12:39 AM

Updated Wednesday, Dec 23 at 8:07 AM

EATONVILLE, Wash. - Two Pierce County sheriff's deputies thought a man was ready to leave a home peacefully before he emerged with a gun and opened fire, sending both deputies to the hospital. One of them is now on life support and the suspect is dead.

Deputy Kent Mundell is in ICU at Harborview Medical Center. Sgt. Nick Hausner is in stable condition at Madigan Army Medical Center.

Pierce County Sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said the deputies were shot at around 8:45 p.m. Monday while responding to a dispute between David Crable and his brother near Eatonville, a rural community in the Cascade foothills.

Crable's brother said Crable was intoxicated and wouldn't leave. The deputies thought they had calmed Crable and he agreed to go. He had gone into a bedroom to get his things.

"When he came out of the bedroom, he had a gun hidden and he opened fire on everybody in the residence, firing multiple rounds, striking both of our deputies," said Troyer during a morning press conference. Later, Troyer said that Crable had the weapons under his shirt.

"We believe he fired 10 rounds and he didn't need to do it. He wasn't going to jail. He wasn't under under arrest. They were actually going to give him a ride out of there and give him a helping hand to defuse the situation," said Troyer. "This particular person went ahead and flat tried to execute both of our deputies."

Both deputies were hit multiple times. Mundell fired back, striking and killing Crable.

Crable's brother and daughter pulled Hausner out of harm's way.

"And that's greatly appreciated. That's greatly respected. That shows tremendous heart," said Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.

Hausner, 43, is a 20-year veteran with the department. He is married with a 14-year-old daughter and 12-year-old son.

Mundell, 44, is an 8-year veteran. He is married with a 16-year-old daughter and 10-year-old son.

"Everybody that responded knew these guys and had been on calls with them for years. The fire department guys are probably taking this really hard too, because they were right there when this happened," said Troyer.

Gov. Chris Gregoire issued a statement saying, "My thoughts and prayers are with the two wounded Pierce County deputies, their families, friends, and the entire law enforcement community."

Pierce County prosecutor Mark Lindquist said Crable had a history of protection orders sought by family members.

Earlier this year, Crable pleaded guilty to malicious mischief and brandishing a knife in an incident involving his brother, Lindquist said, and protection orders were imposed afterward, telling him to stay away from his brother and a female minor.

Both counts were misdemeanors. Lindquist said Crable had no felony convictions.

At the time of the Monday night shooting, those particular protection orders were no longer in effect, Lindquist said.

The prosecutor said other protection orders that emerged were not the result of charges filed.

"They are a result of people saying this guy is a danger to me," said Lindquist, adding, "I think you can reasonably infer from his history, he had an alcohol problem."

The shooting is the third in three months in which authorities say a gunman has taken aim at law enforcement officials in Washington state.

On Nov. 29, Lakewood police officers were shot and killed at a coffee shop before their shift. After a two-day manhunt, suspect Maurice Clemmons was shot to death by a Seattle police officer. On Oct 31, Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton was killed as he sat in his patrol car Halloween night. Christopher Monfort pleaded not guilty to aggravated first-degree murder in Brenton's death, as well as three charges of attempted first-degree murder and arson.

"This should underline and make clear the fact that people who wear badges risk things," said Pastor. "They risk themselves for perfect strangers. We need to ask ourselves how we support people like that, how we back them, if they are going to stand in our stead, how we help them protect us. And I would like to see the community engage in those questions and that dialog so that we don't meet under these circumstances with you (the media) covering something horrible happening to law enforcement officers.

Troyer said the department won't change its procedure on responding to domestic violence calls.

"When somebody asks for help, we go," said Troyer.

"Fear is not going to be in charge. We're not going to give in to fear," said Pastor.

"I am deeply troubled by the recent series of attacks on our law enforcement officers," the governor said in her statement. "I ask that all Washington citizens join me in sending a clear message that these assaults on law enforcement officers will not be tolerated."