(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) delivered the following speech on the floor of the United States Senate to honor the service and sacrifice of the four City of Lakewood Police Officers who were killed on Sunday, November 29th:
“Mr. President, just two days ago my home state was shocked, saddened, and appalled by news of the deadliest attack on law enforcement in Washington state’s history.
“On Sunday morning, just after 8 AM, a gunman walked into a coffee shop in Pierce County, Washington and opened fire - killing four members of the City of Lakewood Police Department who were going over the details of their upcoming shift.
“It was a senseless and brutal killing – and it specifically targeted the people who sacrifice each day to keep all of us safe – our police officers. This terrible crime has not only left the families of the victims shattered, but it has shattered our sense of safety and left an entire community in disbelief.
“It is also part of a shockingly violent month for my state’s law enforcement community that has also included a senseless attack on October 31st which killed Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton and left another officer - Britt Sweeney - injured. These attacks remind all of us of the incredible risks our law enforcement officers take each day. And that even when doing the most routine aspects of their jobs, our law enforcement officers put themselves on the line for our safety.
“Mr. President, today, my thoughts and prayers, like those all across Washington state and our nation, remain with the families of the brave police officers who were killed on Sunday.
· Officer Tina Griswold was a 14 year veteran who served in the police departments in Shelton and Lacey before joining the Lakewood police force in 2004. She leaves behind a husband and two children.
· Officer Ronald Owens followed his father into law enforcement. He was a 12 year veteran of law enforcement and served on the Washington State Patrol before moving to the Lakewood Police Department. He leaves behind a daughter.
· Sgt. Mark Renninger was a veteran, who wore the uniform of the United States before putting on the uniform of the Tukwila Police Department in 1996. He joined the Lakewood Police Department in 2004. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
· Officer Greg Richards was an eight year veteran who served in the Kent Police Department before joining the Lakewood department. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
“Mr. President, because of this senseless attack, nine children have lost their parents. These were officers…mothers and fathers…. husbands and wives… who woke up every day, put on their uniforms and went out to protect our children, our communities and our safety.
“And Sunday, they didn’t come home.
“Already in news reports, internet postings, and candlelight vigils – thousands of tributes to these officers’ dedication to their families and jobs have been shared. They paint a picture of brave officers who not only kept our communities safe, but were also respected and revered members of those communities
“A mother and fathers who in the wake of this tragedy will leave young families behind. Neighbors and friends who coached softball, helped repair local homes, and reached out to help those in need. Police veterans who helped build the foundation of a new police force. Public servants who put the safety of all of us before their own every single day.
“Mr. President, already this year 111 police officers across our country have given their lives while serving to protect us. Each of these tragedies sheds light on just how big a sacrifice our police officers make in the line of duty. But these most recent attacks in my home state also offer an important reminder that our officers are always in the line of duty. Even when they are training other officers, out on routine patrols, or simply having coffee.
“Mr. President, there is no doubt that these senseless attacks have left many law enforcement officers across my state and our country feeling targeted. But there is also no doubt that their willingness to put themselves on the line to protect us will continue unshaken.
“In fact, over the last three days law enforcement officers from all across my state have risked their own lives in the successful search to find the man accused of this killing and to keep him from hurting more innocent people. It is a testament to the unwavering commitment they make to serve and protect us every day. And it should remind all of us that these brave men and women deserve all the support we can provide to keep them safe.
“Mr. President, no words are adequate to express the shock, anger and disbelief that comes with such a brutal crime. And no words will be enough to lessen the loss.
“Our law enforcement professionals put themselves between us and danger every day. Right now, in light of such horrible events, we hold them even closer in our thoughts and prayers.”