Wash. officials: Gunman lying in wait shoots 2 sheriff’s officers, seriously wounding them

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

2 sheriff’s officers badly hurt in Wash. shooting

SEATTLE — Authorities on Tuesday were investigating a shootout between two sheriff’s officers and a drunken man that they were called to remove from his brother’s home, the third time in three months that officers were injured or killed on duty in the state.

The officers killed the gunman before they were rushed to the hospital. Sgt. Nick Hausner, 43, was listed in serious condition at Madigan Army Medical Center near Tacoma, and Deputy Kent Mundell, 44, was in critical condition in the intensive-care unit at Seattle’s Harborview Medical Center, said sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer.

Troyer said the officers were shot around 8:45 p.m. Monday while responding to a domestic disturbance call at a home near Eatonville, a rural community in the Cascade foothills. The home is about 15 miles west of Mount Rainier National Park and 50 miles south of Seattle.

David E. Crable, 35, shot the two officers before he was killed when they returned fire, Troyer said, adding that Crable has a history of domestic violence.

Troyer said Crable’s brother and teenage daughter, who was staying at the home, called to have an intoxicated Crable removed from the home and that he initially agreed to leave with the officers. Crable was holding clothes concealing a handgun when he pulled it out and shot at the officers, who returned fire, Troyer said.

“He knew the officers were coming; he intentionally hid it, he waited for them to get inside then he opened fire — at least 10 rounds — on both of them,” Troyer said.

Crable’s daughter and his brother dragged Hausner into a bedroom and gave him first aid before the daughter ran to the neighbors and called 911, Troyer said.

He said investigators believe the two had nothing to do with the shooting.

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

The shooting comes three weeks after four Lakewood police officers were shot and killed at a coffee shop before their shift. After a two-day manhunt, suspect Maurice Clemmons was shot to death by a Seattle police officer. The Thanksgiving weekend attack on the officers occurred about 17 miles northwest of Monday’s shooting.

A month earlier, 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.

Deputies were filled with “anger and sadness and disbelief” at yet another shooting, said Pierce County Sheriff Paul Pastor.

He said his department had received an immediate outpouring of support from the community and singled out Crable’s brother and daughter for their help.

“God bless those people,” he said.

Troyer said many officers are still grieving for the Lakewood officers they knew as friends.

“We have a whole bunch of them that we’ve put on administrative leave that are upset that were here last night,” he said.

Officers always are hyper vigilant when they investigate to gang shootings and other violent crimes, Troyer said, but “what we are not trained for is people that are ambushing us.”

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

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