Why would anybody want to shoot a law enforcement officer?
The tragic deaths of four police officers in Lakewood, Wash., early Monday have sent shock waves to various law enforcement agencies across the country.
These officers were merely taking a well-deserved break from their job of serving and protecting when they were shot down in cold-blood while planning their upcoming day at Forza's Coffee Shop in Parkland. The police officers -- three men and one woman -- were gunned down while working on their laptops.
The four slain officers were: Sgt. Mark Renninger, 39, a 13-year veteran of law enforcement; Officer Ronald Owen, 37, with 12 years in law enforcement; Officer Tina Griswold, 40, a 14-year veteran of law enforcement; and Officer Greg Richards, 42, who had eight years of law enforcement experience.
Each of the officers leaves behind loved ones, including children and many close friends.
I first learned of the tragedy when I awakened Monday, listening to ABC's Good Morning America. I couldn't believe what I had heard.
Having covered law enforcement my entire career as a reporter, it really struck home because I have a lot of friends in the field. I know I would have been so saddened if anything like that happened to any of the people I know personally in law enforcement circles around these parts.
I can't believe someone would think of something like this -- let alone actually commit such a crime.
The suspect, Maurice Clemmons, 37, was shot and killed by Seattle police early Tuesday after police tracked him down using possible hiding spots supplied by investigators, Ed Troyer, a spokesman for the Pierce County sheriff, reported.
Police said they aren't sure what prompted Clemmons to shoot the officers. He was described as increasingly erratic in the past few months and had been arrested earlier this year on charges that he punched a sheriff's deputy in the face.
Clemmons had stayed on the run for nearly two days with help from a network of friends and family who gave him places to stay, medical aid, rides and money, police said.
He reportedly had bragged to friends prior to the shooting massacre that they needed to listen to the news in the next few days because he was going to make news by killing a few police officers.
As we learn more about this man, police say the suspect didn't know any of the slain officers. He apparently gunned each of them down simply because he hated cops. How sad.
I came to the conclusion that the officers were killed simply because of the color of their uniform and the authority they represented -- not because of their race. All four of them were white, while the suspect reportedly is black.
Let's remember our local law enforcement officers and how they serve and protect us day by day and night by night throughout the year. I even invite you to thank them personally for what they do for all of us.
Let's never take them for granted, but yet honor and respect them for the badge they wear and their dedication to helping others -- even if it means putting their lives on the line for us.
After all, that's what dedicated law enforcement officers do everyday, everywhere in the United States -- no matter whether they are local, state or federal lawmen or women.