Man who shot Wash. cop set to go free

Gov. Chris Gregoire has the ability to cancel the parole of convicted felon Jerry Lain — PoliceOne members have the ability to influence her decision

Here we go again. A convicted felon who 28 years ago very nearly took the life of law enforcer Mike Fitzpatrick is set to be released to the streets. For everyone who is still feeling the pain of the murders of Sgt. Mark Renninger, Officer Ronald Owens, Officer Tina Griswold, and Officer Greg Richards in Lakewood little more than a year ago — murders that could have been prevented had Maurice Clemmons’ parole been denied — the prospect of Jerry Lain as a free man is nauseating. 

Recall also that Lovelle Mixon — who murdered Oakland law enforcers Sgt. Mark Dunakin, Officer John Hege, Sgt. Daniel Sakai and Sgt. Ervin Romans — was wanted on a no-bail warrant for parole violation.

Jerry Lain as a free man? Infuriating.

Late last night a PoliceOne member who lives in the area alerted me to this thing, and I pass it along to all PoliceOne members here. Officer Fitzpatrick told KOMO-News that he vividly remembers “the look in his eyes when I was fighting him, face-to-face.”

Not lost on those of us who devote time and energy toward thinking about such matters is the fact that even at time of the attack, Lain was a parole violator! PoliceOne Columnist Dan Marcou rightly says that Parole is a national game of Russian Roulette, but parole board chairperson Lynne DeLano is willing to spin the cylinder. DeLano was quoted in that KOMO report as saying that although she “can't guarantee” that the community will be safe upon Lane’s release, “we believe he will be safe.”

During that life-or-death confrontation, Lain gained control of Fitzpatrick’s duty weapon, shooting him several times in the stomach before attempting to jam the barrel in Fitzpatrick’s mouth to “finish him off.”

Officer Fitzpatrick survived that battle, but another cop one day in the future may not be so fortunate. We have successfully prevented the ill-advised parole of various felons. Let’s do it again. Time appears to be in short supply on this one, so let’s send our thoughts on the matter directly to the Governor’s office.

Click this link, scroll down, and enter your comments in the web form. Go get 'em.

About the author

Doug Wyllie is Editor in Chief of PoliceOne, responsible for setting the editorial direction of the website and managing the planned editorial features by our roster of expert writers. An award-winning columnist — he is the 2014 Western Publishing Association "Maggie Award" winner in the category of Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column — Doug has authored more than 900 feature articles and tactical tips on a wide range of topics and trends that affect the law enforcement community. Doug is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers' Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA). Doug is active in his support for the law enforcement community, contributing his time and talents toward police-related charitable events as well as participating in force-on-force training, search-and-rescue training, and other scenario-based training designed to prepare cops for the fight they face every day on the street.

Read more articles by PoliceOne Editor in Chief Doug Wyllie by clicking here.

Contact Doug Wyllie

  1. Tags
  2. Patrol Issues

Recommended Officer Safety

Join the discussion

logo for print