Officers gather at Tacoma Dome to honor slain deputy

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by KING and KING5.com Staff

NWCN.com

Posted on January 5, 2010 at 5:23 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jan 6 at 10:13 AM

TACOMA, Wash. - Thousands of law enforcement officers and members of the public gathered on Tuesday to remember Pierce County sheriff's Deputy Kent Mundell.

The somber journey to honor a fallen deputy ended at the Tacoma Dome, where thousands of officers, firefighters and everyday citizen came to celebrate Kent Mundell's life.

"Kent was not only my son, but my joy.  I'm so proud to be his mom," said Mundell's mother, Patricia Stafford, who told stories of a fearless child.

"I actually found him on top of the refrigerator one day.  He had to climb the shelves, the counter and up the side of the fridge," she said.
Later in life he gave up a stable job to be a deputy.

"He told me that someday he might give his life.  Other people would view him as a hero.  Mom, I'm not.  I'm doing what I'm supposed to be doing," said Stafford.

Kent Mundell was a jet skier, a skydiver, a boater and a risk taker always looking for an adventure.

"Kent never had a problem saying I love you man, he'd type it on the empty seat, he'd let you know after you left a call and you could say I love you back and it was never weird," said Deputy Jim Jones.

But his greatest love was his high school sweetheart and two children, who, in a poignant moment with Sgt. Nick Hausner added their dad's name to the list of fallen pierce county deputies.

But for the men and women in blue, it only strengthened their resolve.

"We will not hesitate to do our jobs," said Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor. "Look at these people, and when you look at them remember, this is the oath we take.  This is the best of who and what we are.  This is what Kent Mundell stood for."

A long procession of police and emergency vehicles accompanied Mundell's casket from Puyallup to the dome for Tuesday's service. Hundreds of police cars were involved in the roughly 10-mile procession route, along with thousands of people from the community.

Mundell was the sixth law enforcement officer killed in an ambush in two months in Pierce County and Seattle.

"This has been a miserable two months, no doubt about it," said Steve Mauer, Lakewood Police Dept. "I'd rather not live through this again. It's important for me to help out as much as I can to honor the officers who have gone like this. That's why I'm here."

"It's just a show of confidence in our sheriff, show of confidence and support for the sheriff's department," said Kenyon Luce, volunteer.

Mundell and another deputy, Sgt. Nick Hausner, were shot by David Crable after family members had called officers to remove Crable from the home. Hausner survived his wounds, but Mundell was taken off life support at a Seattle hospital on Dec. 27.

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