A single gunman walked into a coffeehouse in Pierce County, Washington, at 8:15 AM on Sunday, November 29, 2009, and fatally shot four Lakewood police officers who were doing paperwork and having coffee at the beginning of their shift.
The Pierce County Sheriff’s office says that the assailant was male. There was only one shooter but police have not ruled out the possibility that the shooter had help. There was no immediate evidence that the gunned-down officers were able to return fire. A police spokesman indicated there was little likelihood that the killings were a robbery gone bad, as the officers had left marked police cars in the parking lot outside and were all wearing uniforms. In addition, there were several customers and employees in the shop at the time who were not injured.
The names of the victims have not yet been released. The coffee shop, owned by a retired police officer, was known in the community as a police hangout, where officers from multiple jurisdictions often met to share information on cases or to catch up on paperwork.
This tragedy will bring the total number of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty so far in 2009 to more than 110, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. This is a sad reminder of the peril that our men and women in uniform face every day.
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Bob Hayes is the senior partner at DocRocket, a web content and writing services company. He is a freelance business consultant with particular expertise in software, Internet business development, and operational efficiency. In addition he maintains a personal blog at Bob Hayes Online.