Officials: Suspect killed in Wash. state shooting; 2 sheriff’s officials critically injured

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2 sheriff’s officials shot in Washington state

EATONVILLE, Wash. — Two sheriff’s officers responding to a domestic dispute were wounded and a 35-year-old man was killed Monday after he opened fire on the officers at a home in Washington state’s rural Pierce County, authorities said.

The shooting is the third in the last three months in which authorities say a gunman has taken aim at law enforcement officers in Washington State.

Pierce County Sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said that one sergeant and one deputy were shot Monday at 8:48 p.m. while responding to a dispute between two brothers near Eatonville, a rural community in the Cascade foothills.

Sheriff’s officials say 35-year-old David E. Crable shot the two officers before he was killed in the shooting.

Troyer told reporters at the scene that officers were responding to a dispute between Crable and his brother at a home near Eatonville.

Sheriff’s were called and were greeted at the door by Crable’s brother, while David Crable was in the house arming himself, Troyer said. When the deputies entered the house, David Crable opened fire, hitting one of the officers multiple times.

“This is somebody that was laying in wait for our guys, armed themselves, with the intent on shooting them,” Troyer told reporters near the shooting scene. “There’s not much we’re going to be able to do when somebody is hiding and arming themselves and we have somebody else inviting us into the residence and the second person opens fire on us.”

Officers were able to return fire and kill Crable, Troyer said.

“Most people of the community as we have seen in the last few weeks have a tremendous regard for (law enforcement),” Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor said at the scene late Monday night. “But there are people in the community that don’t come from there, and that’s the people we deal with day after day.”

Troyer said Crable’s family in the house attempted to help the wounded officers, including trying to provide first aid and barricading themselves in a room away from the shooter.

“It looks like people that were in this residence went out of their way to help our people,” Troyer said.

Around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday, Troyer said that the sergeant was taken to Madigan Army Medical Center and was in serious condition. The deputy was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and remained in critical condition in the intensive care unit.

Television cameras showed police holding up sheets to protect the privacy of one of the officers after arriving at Harborview Medical Center.

Pierce County sheriff’s records show Crable was convicted earlier this year of exhibiting or displaying a weapon with intent to intimidate.

He also has been arrested for malicious mischief and assault and had a no-contact order by his 16-year-old daughter who lived with Crable’s brother. Troyer said Crable had a history of “terrorizing” his family.

The Monday night shooting comes three weeks after four Lakewood police officers were shot and killed at a coffee shop before their shift.

Killed were Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, and Officers Ronald Owens, 37, Tina Griswold, 40, and Greg Richards, 42.

After a two-day manhunt, Maurice Clemmons was shot to death by a Seattle police officer.

Authorities said Clemmons singled out the officers and spared employees and other customers at the coffee shop in Parkland, a Tacoma suburb about 35 miles south of Seattle. He then fled but not before one of the dying officers shot him in the torso.

Prosecutors said several members of a network of family and friends have been arrested for allegedly helping him elude capture.

A month before the Lakewood officers were killed, Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton was killed as he sat in his patrol car Halloween night. Christopher Monfort, 41, has been charged with aggravated first-degree murder in Brenton’s death.

AP photographer Ted S. Warren in Eatonville, Wash. contributed to this report.

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