Wounded sheriff's sergeant back home; deputy still critical

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by KING5.com and Associated Press

NWCN.com

Posted on December 24, 2009 at 12:52 PM

Updated Thursday, Dec 24 at 11:22 PM

EATONVILLE, Wash. – One of the two Pierce County Sheriff's deputies shot while responding to a domestic violence call Monday night is back home, but not before spending part of his Christmas Eve visiting the deputy who remains in critical condition.

Sgt. Nicholas Hausner was released from Madigan Army Hospital late Thursday morning and went straight to Harborview Medical Center to check on Deputy Kent Mundell, who is on life support.

A motorcade of police escorts accompanied Sgt. Nick Hausner as he left Madigan Army Medical Center near Tacoma to visit Deputy Mundell. Sheets were put up at the hospital entrance to prevent anyone from seeing Hausner go inside. He left a little more than an hour later.

When Hausner arrived home, neighbors stood outside in support and quiet respect. Hausner emerged from a car, wearing a bandage on his neck where he was shot, and walked slowly into his home.

"You couldn't ask for a better Christmas Eve," said Ryan Rauhala, who lives next door to Hausner.

The homecoming was an early Christmas gift for the Eatonville community, on edge since Monday night's shooting.

"I've been extremely upset," said neighbor Kim Steelsmith. "It just does me wonders to see him get out of the car."

Suspect's daughter a hero

Detectives also revealed Thursday that the 16-year-old daughter of the suspect fought with her father to get the gun out of his hands and may have saved Hausner's life.

Pierce County Sheriff's Office spokesman Det. Ed Troyer said that when Crable opened fire, Sgt. Hausner was hit in the neck, with the bullet going all the way through. Crable's brother, Jason, and his girlfriend then dragged Hausner into a room and barricaded the door. That left Mundell, Crable and Crable's 16-year-old daughter alone together.

Apparently the girl saw her father shoot Mundell several times, then shoot Hausner. At some point, she jumped on Crable and dragged him to the ground, keeping him from shooting the officer again. Authorities say the girl also tried to aid the officers, then ran to a neighbor's house to call for help.

Crable was ultimately killed by Mundell.

Crable's daughter has not been ready to return home to the scene of the shooting. Because of her heroic actions, the Pierce County Sheriff's Office is trying to show its support by sending her clothing and gifts. Nordstrom and toys for tots have both sent presents.

Vigil at Harborview

Family and supporters have been coming in and out of the hospital. Mundell's father was seen wheeled out of Harborview Wednesday night. His father arrived from Waco, Texas, and spent several hours last night at his son's bedside in intensive care.

Police from across the region have also been lending their support.

Click here for a link to e-mail patients at Harborview

"We just wanted to show our support real quickly to the Pierce County Sheriff and let them know that if there's anything they need, we're here to support them with people and resources," said Mark Coleman, Renton Police Department.

The shooting is the third in three months in which a gunman has taken aim at law enforcement officials in Western Washington. Four Lakewood police officers were killed Nov. 29. The suspect in that case was later shot and killed by police. On Halloween, Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton was killed while sitting in his patrol car. Suspect Christopher Monfort has pleaded not guilty to the murder. 

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