crimesider

Sea of Red White and Blue as Thousands Honor Four Slain Wash. Cops

(AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)
(AP Photo/City of Lakewood)
(AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, Pool)
(AP Photo)
TACOMA, Wash. (CBS/AP) A procession of 2,000 cars followed the flag-draped caskets of four slain police officers to a memorial service Tuesday as thousands of mourners, mostly members of law enforcement from across the country, lined the streets.

Photo: Nicholas Renninger, 3, walks in front of his father's casket, Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39.

PICTURES: Thousands Mourn Fallen Heroes

They came to honor Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold, and Greg Richards, who were gunned down in a Seattle-area coffee shop at the end of November.

Lori Lightfoot and Sheila Chandler, police detectives from Fresno, Calif., were among officers who traveled from as far away as New York, Chicago and Canada.

The pair said the deaths of the four Lakewood officers brought back memories of four Oakland police officers killed during a traffic stop and a shootout in March.

"It's just disbelief," Lightfoot said. "It's unbelievable that it could happen again."

Photo: From left to right, Police Sgt. Mark Renninger, Police Officer Ronald Owens, Police Officer Greg Richards, Police Officer Tina Griswold.

PICTURES: Thousands Mourn Fallen Heroes

The Lakewood officers were killed Nov. 29 before the start of their shift. Authorities say Maurice Clemmons singled them out and spared employees and other customers at the coffee shop in Parkland, a Tacoma suburb about 35 miles south of Seattle.

Photo: Caskets bearing the bodies of slain Lakewood, Wash., police officers are brought into the Tacoma Dome, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2009.

PICTURES: Thousands Mourn Fallen Heroes

Clemmons was shot to death last week by a Seattle police officer after a two-day manhunt. Prosecutors said he received help from family and friends, and seven people have been arrested.

Photo: Mug shot of Maurice Clemmons from Pierce County Sheriff's Department.

PICTURES: Thousands Mourn Fallen Heroes

Several candlelight vigils have been held for the officers since the shooting, but Tuesday's memorial service and procession is believed to be the largest in state history.

Thousands of people lined the streets around the Tacoma Dome, and an estimated 20,000 people attended the service, which was delayed more than an hour because of the large law enforcement procession.

The officers' family and friends served as pallbearers, carrying the coffins inside.

A ceremonial honor guard opened the ceremony, and every officer in the arena stood at attention and saluted as the families of the four officers and members of the Lakeland Police Department were led to their seats.

"They were good people, and they were great cops," Lakewood Police Chief Brett Farrar said at the service. "And they will be truly missed."

In addition to eulogies from family, friends and public officials, mourners will watch a video tribute to the officers. Floral arrangements lined the stage, as well as two motorcycles, a drum set and a NASCAR race car.

Cpl. Jack Hundial, of Surrey, British Columbia, was one of 1,000 Royal Canadian Mounted Police in attendance. He said he and his colleagues wanted to show their support because "it could have been any of us."

"I think about their families," he said. "I don't think you ever find true closure for something this tragic."

Gov. Chris Gregoire, who will speak at the service, has directed that flags at all state facilities be lowered to half-staff Tuesday.

Additional space for the public to view telecasts of the service was made available at the University of Washington Tacoma, Pacific Lutheran University and the Christian Faith Center in Federal Way.

MEDIA
PICTURES: Thousands Mourn Fallen Heroes

MORE ON CRIMESIDER
December 3, 2009 - Maurice Clemmons' Alleged Get-Away Man May Get Charged with Seattle Cop Killings

  • Edecio Martinez

Comments

Follow Us

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.