“Alarming surge” in officer gun deaths nationally; WA ranks 4th in nation
If it seems like a lot of cops have died by gunfire lately, national statistics confirm it’s not necessarily just a local trend: In the past year, firearms-related fatalities among cops increased 26 percent.
Some 49 officers nationally died this way this year, up from last year’s 39 — “an alarming surge in the number of officers killed by gunfire,” said Craig W. Floyd, CEO and chairman of National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund (NLEOMF) in a press release. The press release cites “a disturbing increase in the number of officers who were killed by gunfire, many of them in brutal, ambush-style attacks.”
The latest death was Pierce County Deputy Kent Mundell, for whom a public memorial is set to begin at 1 p.m. Jan. 5 at the Tacoma Dome. A memorial procession begins that day at 10 a.m. at the Puyallup Fair and Events Center and ends at the Tacoma Dome.
People in Lakewood, meanwhile, continue to mourn the deaths of four Lakewood Police officers shot and killed execution-style in the Parkland area on Nov. 29. On Halloween, Seattle police officer Timothy Brenton was “ambushed, shot at point-blank range,” and a memorial procession in his honor included more than 1,000 vehicles.
Washington this year had more shooting deaths of officers than any other state except for three, all of which are far more populous — No. 1 Texas (11 deaths), Florida (9), California (8). Washington shared the fourth-place spot with North Carolina and Pennsylvania.
What does it all mean? The Memorial Fund’s report, putting it all in perspective, points out that the nation’s 49 shooting deaths of cops in 2009 represents an improvement over 2007’s 68 deaths — or indeed any other prior year going back a decade. In 1999, 46 died by gunshot.
2009 Shooting Fatalities – Top 10 States
KUOW: Spike in police gunfire deaths in Washington