Tuesday, December 22, 2009


There has been another "ambush" shooting of Pierce County police officers in Washington. Another lone shooter with a laundry list of priors, convictions, and a stay at an area hospital for mental health issues. And despite these issues, the accused gunman (who is now dead) allegedly had access to an arsenal of rifles and handguns. And like the tragic Lakewood ambush of four officers, the media is already posting the alleged gunman's chilling mugshot everywhere. This is another tragedy that will no doubt be seized upon by gun control advocates, and according to the Seattlepi.com, it is the third apparent police ambush in Western Washington since Oct. 31. Eight deputies or officers were shot in those cases; five fatally. Investigators say the incidents are "unrelated". An updated Seattle Times report can be viewed here.

Lone gunman Crable: convict, mentally disturbed and "ambushed" police. Sound familiar? (S. Times)

There is something ominous and bizarre going on in the state of Washington and Pierce County in particular. Serial or copycat ambush attacks on Police officers is not something that typically happens in large metropolitain areas, much less rural counties in the Pacific northwest. First Lakewood, now this. And in each case a lone gunman and isolated incidents. But are they? There has been an ongoing attempt to get the public to move along and not try to ask too many questions in the Lakewood shootings, even when it was revealed that one of the slain ambushed officers was an ex-Army Ranger and a nationally known SWAT team trainer, and the alleged, dead suspect (Maurice Clemmons) had no formal gun training to speak of.

This Blog reluctantly addressed these issues in a previous post, where it was noted that Pierce County houses a noted US Air Force base that houses, among other things, intelligence and tactical strike force units. There is no evidence that the AFB, or anyone ever associated with it, had anything to do with any of these shootings; but the fact that these shootings are happening so closely to the base in something worth noting.

The Seattle Times and KOMO in Seattle are reporting of yet another ambush style shooting of two sherriffs deputies by a single gunman in the same county where four Lakewood police officers were shot and killed in a Lakewood coffee shop in an ambush style shooting by another lone gunman, Maurice Clemmons (according to Police) three and a half weeks ago. Clemmons was killed two days later. Several weeks before that another officer, in Seattle, was shot ambush style as he set in his police cruiser. The officer was killed and the suspect was shot and paralyzed.

In the instant matter, two officers were responding to an unwanted guest call that involved two brothers and one of the brother's fifteen year old daughter. It appears the biological father was the unwanted guest and that the daughter, who was living with the brother (Uncle) had a restraining order against her father (according to sources). When our two deputies arrived, they were invited in to the house by one of the brothers," Sherriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said. Troyer was also the spokesman during the Lakewood police executions.

But when officers stepped into the home at approximately 8:48 p.m., a man opened fire from the second floor, Troyer said. And unlike the last two ambush shootings in the area, the lone gunman here was white.

"They were basically ambushed," he said. "The suspect was upstairs and out of view of the deputies."
The gunman fired several rounds, hitting the deputy and the sergeant, who managed to fire back.

The gunman, 35-year-old David Crable, was shot dead, Troyer said. His brother and the killed man's daughter were not hurt. They were both taken into custody for questioning, according to KOMO.

Investigators said Crable had access to multiple guns, one of which may have been a rifle. According to KING TV, The Pierce County Sheriff's Office says the suspect, David E. Crable, was convicted in June for displaying a weapon with the intent to intimidate. He had been arrested multiple times for domestic violence. He was last arrested by Pierce County Sheriff's Deputies on November 14 for DUI.

There were multiple protection orders against Crable, according to KING. One of those restraining orders was for his 15-year-old daughter, who was living with Crable's brother – the scene of Monday night's crime scene. Here is a link to the videotaped KOMO news story and interview following the shooting.

What is going on in Pierce County, Washington? One thing is for sure. The Police and the community are reeling from this latest shooting. And, obviously, killing Maurice Clemmons did not make the area safe from ambush style attacks on police officers trying to simply do their job. Police had to return fire on Crable, because, according to reports he shot and critically injured these two officers.

Let's hope this is the last of these ambush shootings of police in Pierce County, Washington. But again, what exactly is going on up there? Are these ambush shootings really isolated and in no way related?  These are such tragic circumtances for the families involved.  Let's hope the truth wins out and these incidents cease before Pierce County descends into the wild, wild west.

Because these are very tense times to be a law enforcement officer or criminal suspect in Pierce County or the Seattle-Tacoma metropolitian areas in general. And if the comments sections of the linked media articles are any indication, there are numerous citizens who would have no problem with disarming the public or allowing SWAT teams to respond to random domestic situations. Problem-reaction-solution, anyone?

Tense times in a Police State. SWAT officers search for Lakewood gunman in early December (Getty).