My heart goes out to the victims families in this holiday season. But no doubt the gun control advocates will be calling for stronger laws to make the purchasing of handguns more difficult. When in reality these laws impede the rights of others to defend themselves. It is not the fault of the gun for a tragic murder such as this, but the fault of the gunmen.
PARKLAND, Wash. – A gunman walked into a coffee shop and shot and killed four police officers Sunday morning in what sheriff’s officials described as an “execution.”
The officers were sitting in the cafe at a strip mall near the Tacoma suburb of Parkland with their laptop computers, preparing for their day shifts, when a man came in and opened fire, Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.
The officers were obviously targeted because they were in full uniform and no one else was shot at, Troyer said.
“This was more of an execution. He walked in with the mind of shooting police officers,” Troyer said.
It wasn’t immediately known if any of the officers were able to return fire. They were declared dead at the scene.
Troyer said two employees and a few customers were in the Forza Coffee Company shop at the time but no one else was hurt. “As you can imagine they are all traumatized,” Troyer said.
Authorities scoured the area for the gunman, who is believed to have fled on foot or by car. The suspect was described as a “scruffy”-faced black man in his 20s or 30s, 5 feet 7 to 5 feet 10, wearing a black coat ands blue jeans.
“We are in the process of searching multiple locations,” Troyer said.
Nearby McChord Air Force Base was put on alert.
No advance threats
The victims were three males and one female, all officers with the Lakewood Police Department southwest of Tacoma, Troyer said.
There were no specific advance threats against the officers, Troyer said.
A $10,000 reward was being offered for information leading to those responsible.
With no known suspects, there was no indication of any connection with the Halloween night shooting of a Seattle police officer. The suspect in that shooting remains hospitalized.
The Forza coffee shop, part of a popular local chain, is on a side street near McChord Air Force Base in Tacoma, about 35 miles south of Seattle. The shop is in a small retail center alongside two restaurants, a cigar store and a nail salon.
Brad Carpenter, founder and owner of Forza Coffee, said his staff was OK and being interviewed by police, and that his main concern was with the families of the police officers.
“I’m a retired police officer, so this really hits close to home for me,” he said.
Streets around the coffee shop were blocked off late Sunday morning, and a police helicopter hovered over a large crowd of investigators. TV video showed police taking possession of a pickup truck parked in a grocery store in Parkland.
Dave Gabrielson, a clerk at Foot Mart about a block away from the coffee shop, told The News Tribune of Tacoma all was quiet when he opened the store at 8 a.m. About 30 minutes later, “All of a sudden a million cops were zooming up and down the road,” Gabrielson said.
He said he saw officers bring a police dog into a nearby apartment complex.
Seattle police shooting
On Oct. 31, Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton was shot and killed Halloween night as he was sitting in a cruiser with trainee Britt Sweeney. Sweeney was grazed in the neck.
Authorities say the man charged with that shooting also firebombed four police vehicles in October as part of a “one-man war” against law enforcement. Christopher Monfort, 41, was arrested days after the Seattle slaying after being shot by officers surrounding an apartment complex south of Seattle where he was staying. He remains hospitalized and is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down.