One of two officers shot in an ambush last week by a drunken man in Washington state died Monday after being taken off life support, becoming the sixth police officer to die from gunfire in the state in less than two months.
Pierce County sheriff's Deputy Kent Mundell, 44, died with his family at his side shortly after 5 p.m., said sheriff's office spokesman Ed Troyer, tears welling up in his eyes.
"When they pulled the life support off of him, he went very quickly," Troyer said.
Police say David E. Crable, 35, shot Mundell and Sgt. Nick Hausner, 43, as the officers responded to a domestic disturbance call at the home of Crable's brother near Eatonville, in the Cascade foothills about 50 miles south of Seattle on Dec. 21. Family members called to have an intoxicated Crable removed.
Crable, who police said has a history of domestic violence, was killed in a subsequent shoot-out with Hausner and Mundell. Hausner recovered from his injury and visited Mundell on Christmas Eve. Troyer said Hausner, who is recovering at home, was notified of Mundell's death soon after it happened.
The shootings marked the third time in less than eight weeks that police officers in Washington state had been shot in the line of duty.
Four Lakewood officers were shot to death in a coffee shop as they did paperwork before their shift in late November. A Seattle police officer later fatally shot the suspect. A month earlier, on Halloween night, Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton was killed as he sat in his patrol car. The suspect in that shooting has been charged with aggravated first-degree murder.
Troyer said the decision to take Mundell off life support was made on Monday. Since the shooting, officers from around the region kept vigil at the hospital.
"We don't want to leave out what has happened here in the last month. There's a ton of families out there, a whole bunch of kids, a lot of widowed people out there because of has gone on in the state of Washington. Most law enforcement throughout Western Washington are grieving," Troyer said. "That's why they're here."
Troyer said a funeral has been tentatively planned for Jan. 5.