A memorial service was held Tuesday for Washington state sheriff's deputy Kent Mundell. The Pierce County Wash. deputy was shot on Dec. 21 while handling a domestic violence incident. He died a week later after being in critical condition. He leaves behind a wife and two children, 16 and 10. The memorial was held at the Tacoma Dome, a venue that can seat up to 23,000.
Deputy Kent Mundell's death is the third incident and sixth police death in western Washington in two months. Four Pierce County police officers of the Lakewood Police Department were shot and killed at a coffee shop on Nov. 29, 2009. Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton was killed by a drive-by shooter on Oct. 31.
According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, one law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty every 53 hours in the United States.
Last year saw the fewest officers killed for 50 years, with 125 deaths. However, multiple-fatality shootings were high in 2009, killing 15 officers in five incidents.
Washington state lost two officers in 2007, and two officers again in 2008. But in 2009 Mundell was the seventh police officer to die in Washington state and the fifth in Pierce County alone.
Pierce County is located on the Pudget Sound in western Washington state; it is home to Mt. Rainier, the tallest of the Cascade Range. Tacoma is its largest city. In 2008 the U.S. Census Bureau estimated the population at more than 785,000.
"It’s unfortunate that our membership continues to grow," said Brooke McKay of Concerns of Police Survivors, a support network for families of law enforcement officers who die in the line of duty. She said it is especially hard when loved ones [officers] get "targeted and shot down—but that is why we are here for them."
She said right now is a "great time of need" for the families affected by recent police shootings.
Brad Carpenter, chief executive officer of Forza Coffee, where the four Lakewood officers were shot, said in a statement released on their Web site, "As a retired police officer, this senseless shooting hits extremely close to home to me—these officers put their lives on the line every day to keep us safe, and this crime cuts deep into the heart of the entire Forza family."
According to the News Tribune more than 20,000 people attended the Lakewood officers’ public memorial service. It was held at the Tacoma Dome on Dec. 8.
The January 5 memorial service for slain sheriff's deputy Kent Mundell was attended by thousands of people. According to local news station King5, hundreds of police cars and thousands of community members were involved in the roughly 10-mile procession to the Tacoma Dome Tuesday morning for the 1 p.m. memorial service.
Additional reporting by Joshua Philipp.