Sister of slain officer: ‘My worst nightmare has come true’
The sister of a Lakewood police officer shot to death in a coffee shop remembered the woman as a dedicated officer during a tearful plea Monday for the killer’s capture.
“My worst nightmare has come true,” said Tiffiny Ryan, who works in the records division at the Spokane Police Department.
Flanked by her fiance, Spokane County sheriff’s Deputy Beau Vucinich, and Spokane Police Chief Anne Kirkpatrick, Ryan described her sister, Tina Griswold, as “the world to me” and said she wants the killer “to know what he took from us.”
Griswold was killed Sunday morning with three colleagues as they sat with their computers preparing for the day.
Since the shooting, Spokane police have been told not to do reports or other computer work in public places and to have two officers per patrol car if possible. Kirkpatrick visited with Griswold’s family Sunday night and said the community support for Ryan is outpouring.
“This community wants to wrap their arms around her,” Kirkpatrick said.
Griswold, whose parents live in Post Falls, has a 7-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter, Ryan said.
Ryan recalled watching the memorial service for slain Seattle police Officer Timothy Brenton, who was shot to death in his patrol car Oct. 31.
“Never did I dream that I would be next to suffer the pain and the loss,” she said. “I can’t tell you how painful it is to lose my sister to me. I can’t. I don’t know what the days to come will be like without her.”
Ryan urged the community to push for changes to the criminal justice system to prevent people from being released early from prison, which happened in Arkansas to suspect Maurice Clemmons, who is still at large. She also urged anyone who may know where Clemmons is to come forward.
Griswold had been in law enforcement in Washington state for 14 years, Ryan said, beginning as a dispatcher in Shelton. She worked as an officer there and with the Lacey Police Department before joining the Lakewood police. Kirkpatrick taught her as a student at the police academy.
“Not a day went by that I have not thought how proud I was of her,” Ryan said.
The sisters had talked about the dangers of police work.
Griswold once said that if something were to happen to her on the job, “I went out doing what I love the most,” Ryan recalled. “And I know that she meant that,” Ryan said.
She was dedicated to the community and fearless when it came to protecting it. Ryan recalled a car accident in which the victims had drowned in a submerged vehicle.
An officer who responded with Griswold didn’t want to dive in after the bodies, Ryan said.
“Then watch my gun,” Ryan recalled her sister saying before diving in the water and pulling out the bodies.
“She gave over 100 percent at all times to her job.”
Outside of work, Griswold was a “phenomenal cook” who often called Ryan to brag about her great dishes. She also recently bought a dirtbike.
But her dedication to the police force didn’t move her to take much time off.
When Ryan called her on Thanksgiving, she was on duty. Ryan asked why she didn’t take the day off with all the seniority she enjoyed.
“She said, ‘I didn’t want to leave them shorthanded,’” Ryan said.