Attack on Wash. deputies stuns weary community
One deputy remains in critical condition
By George Tibbits
SEATTLE — For the third time in less than eight weeks, police officers in the state have been shot in the line of duty, this time by a man who was drunk and waiting to ambush them as they arrived to remove him from his brother's home, authorities said Tuesday.
David E. Crable, 35, shot two sheriff's officers Monday night before he was killed in the subsequent shoot-out, Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said. Crable has a history of domestic violence and "terrorizing" his family, he added.
"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.
Many of the deputies who rushed to the rural cabin had investigated the fatal shootings of four Lakewood police officers just three weeks before, he said.
"I think some people, when the call went out, didn't believe it was real," Troyer said.
Sheriff's Sgt. Nick Hausner, 43, and Deputy Kent Mundell, 44, were wounded after responding to the domestic disturbance call at the home near the town of Eatonville, in the Cascade foothills about 50 miles south of Seattle.
Hausner was in stable condition late Tuesday at Madigan Army Medical Center near Tacoma and Mundell was in critical condition with life-threatening wounds at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, Troyer said.
Troyer said Crable's 15-year-old daughter was staying at the home of Crable's brother, who was identified in court papers as Edward J. Crable. The brother called deputies to have an intoxicated Crable removed from the home, and Crable initially agreed to leave with the officers.
Crable was holding clothes concealing a handgun that he then pulled out and fired at the officers, who shot back, Troyer said.
He said Mundell was struck multiple times, but was able to return fire before he apparently was hit again.
Crable "didn't need to do it," Troyer said. "He wasn't going to jail. He wasn't under arrest. They were actually going to give him a ride out of there and give him a helping hand to diffuse the situation."
Crable's daughter and brother dragged Hausner into a bedroom and gave him first aid before the daughter ran to the neighbors and called 911, Troyer said.
He and Sheriff Paul Pastor said investigators believe the brother and daughter had nothing to do with the shooting and did all they could to help the officers.
"God bless those people," Pastor said.
The sheriff said deputies were filled with "anger and sadness and disbelief" at yet another shooting. Such danger "is in the front of the mind" for officers, but "we won't let fear direct us," he said.
The four Lakewood officers were shot in a coffee shop as they did paperwork 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.
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 gang shootings and other violent crimes, but "what we are not trained for is people that are ambushing us," Troyer said.
"We now know it's going to be part of the job," he said.