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Thousands remember slain Washington state deputy

Tue., Jan. 5, 2010, 9:21 a.m.

TACOMA — Less than a month after law enforcement officers filled the Tacoma Dome for a memorial service for four of their own, they returned Tuesday for yet another sad ceremony for one of their colleagues.

Thousands of officers from the Northwest and members of the public gathered to remember Pierce County sheriff’s Deputy Kent Mundell, 44, of Puyallup. He died Dec. 28, the sixth law officer killed in two months in Pierce County and Seattle, days after he was shot by a drunken man at a home near Eatonville, 28 miles southeast of Tacoma.

Scores of police cars accompanied Mundell’s casket in a procession from Puyallup to the dome, where it was met by an honor guard. Pall bearers placed the flag-draped coffin before a flower-bedecked stage.

Mundell’s mother, Patricia Stanford, told the gathering that her son once said he might be called upon to give his life. She said some might call him a hero for that, but that he told her: “ ‘I’m not, I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.’ “

“He was truly a warrior who counted the price before entering the battle,” she said.

During the two-hour ceremony, fellow deputies remembered Mundell’s outgoing nature, his humor and passion for sports and the outdoors. Gov. Chris Gregoire praised his courage and dedication.

“His routine was to protect the comfort of our world,” she said.

In addition to his parents, Mundell is survived by his wife, Lisa, and their daughter and son.

Police say David E. Crable, 35, ambushed Mundell and Sgt. Nick Hausner, 43, as they responded to a domestic disturbance call Dec. 21 at the home of Crable’s brother. Family members had called to have an intoxicated Crable removed from the home.

Crable was killed in a subsequent shoot-out with the two officers. Hausner is recovering from his wounds, but Mundell was taken off life support at a Seattle hospital a week later.

The shootings marked the third time in less than eight weeks that police officers in the region were ambushed and killed.

Mourners came to the Tacoma Dome on Dec. 8 to honor Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards, who were killed Nov. 28 at a coffee shop in the Tacoma suburb of Parkland. Maurice Clemmons, the accused gunman, was shot to death by a Seattle police officer two days later.

On Halloween night, Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton was killed as he sat in his patrol car. Christopher Monfort, 41, has been charged with aggravated first-degree murder in his death.

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