Medal of Honor bestowed on 14 police officers

  • Fri May 7th, 2010 9:54pm
  • News

By Rachel LA Corte Associated Press

OLYMPIA — Four officers who were shot and killed by a gunman last November were given the state’s Law Enforcement Medal of Honor Friday at a ceremony honoring more than a dozen officers.

Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Gregory Richards and Ronald Owens were among the seven officers who received medals for posthumous service. Seven other officers received medals for serious injury or meritorious conduct.

Gov. Chris Gregoire put a wreath at the law enforcement memorial on the Capitol campus, and along with Attorney General Rob McKenna, presented the posthumous and other medals and portraits of all of the officers Friday afternoon.

“All of the men and women we honor, did their duty,” Gregoire said. “They signed up, they put on their badge, they answered when people were in need. Their courage was evident every time they put on their uniform.”

More than 290 names of officers killed in the line of duty since 1854 are carved onto the memorial. Among the most recent names to be added were the seven officers who died in the line of duty last year. All but one were killed in shootings over a two-month period at the end of the year.

Seattle officer Timothy Brenton of Marysville was killed as he sat in his patrol car Oct. 31, discussing a traffic stop with a trainee named Britt Sweeney, who was grazed by a bullet. Sweeney received a medal for serious injury.

Renninger, Griswold, Richards and Owens were gunned down Nov. 29 at a Parkland coffee shop at the start of their shift. After a two-day manhunt, suspect Maurice Clemmons was shot to death by Seattle police officer Benjamin Kelly. Kelly received a medal for meritorious conduct.

In December, Pierce County Deputy Kent Mundell of Puyallup was shot to death while responding to a domestic disturbance call. Sgt. Nicholas Hausner, who was injured during that shooting, received a medal for serious injury.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Stephen Michael Gallagher, Jr., was killed after his patrol car hit an elk in August while he was responding to a domestic violence call.

Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Chief Chandra Brady called 2009 “a horrific year” for law enforcement for the number of lives lost.

“Today, and every day, we honor each of them and their families, and renew our commitment,” she said. “We will remember.”

Other officers who received medals Friday:

  • Clallam County Sheriff’s Office Deputy William Cortani, Jr., for injuries he received during a shootout with a suspect near Neah Bay in January.

    Seattle Police Sgt. Gary Nelson, for his part in the arrest of Christopher Monfort, who has been charged with killing Brenton and shooting Sweeney. Police say as Nelson confronted Monfort on a stairwell at his Tukwila apartment complex Nov. 6, Monfort aimed his gun at Nelson’s head and pulled the trigger, but the gun misfired. Monfort was ultimately shot and paralyzed by police.

    Seattle Sgt. Robert Vallor, for his part in the arrest of Monfort.

    Seattle Police Detective Rolf Norton, for his part in the arrest of Monfort.