A truck crosses Trojan Way on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

A truck crosses Trojan Way on Monday, Sept. 11, 2023 in Everett, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)

North Everett street may be renamed to honor slain officer Rocha

Everett police see the change as a way to pay tribute to Dan Rocha. Public comment will be accepted until Sept. 22.

EVERETT — A portion of Trojan Way may soon be renamed to honor Everett officer Dan Rocha, who was killed nearby in March 2022.

The proposal only requests changing the roughly 550-foot section of the road between 10th Street and Broadway, next to the Starbucks where Rocha was killed.

The Everett Police Department is leading the effort. Chief Dan Templeman sent a letter to Mayor Cassie Franklin last month lobbying for the change.

“As a tribute to his honor and sacrifice, it is my desire to have this small stretch of roadway in north Everett, near the Starbucks where he died, and in the community where he first lived and patrolled, renamed to Officer Dan Rocha Way,” Templeman wrote.

On March 25, 2022, Rocha was on duty when he stopped by the Starbucks to get a coffee. After noticing what appeared to be a man moving guns between two cars, Rocha went outside to check things out.

Body camera footage shows Rocha approached Richard Rotter, a 50-year-old man from the Tri-Cities, and they spoke calmly for around eight minutes. Rocha tried to arrest a non-compliant Rotter, a convicted felon, for unlawful firearm possession.

As the two men struggled, Rotter pulled a Glock out of his shoulder holster and shot the officer five times, with three shots to the head, according to court records. Rocha was pronounced dead at the scene.

In April, Rotter was convicted of aggravated first-degree murder and sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Renaming the street would help people heal after Rocha’s killing, police spokesperson Ora Hamel said.

“Our hope is that when people travel on Officer Dan Rocha Way, they not only remember what a great person Dan was, but also the sacrifice made by all of our law enforcement officers every day,” she wrote in an email.

Rocha began his career with the police department in 2017 as a parking enforcement officer. He was later recruited by coworkers to join the force as a police officer. He patrolled north Everett for two years prior to his death.

Franklin supports the request to rename the street. In a response to Templeman, she wrote the renaming is an appropriate way to recognize Rocha’s sacrifice and service.

Trojan Way, formerly “Little” Broadway, was renamed for Everett Community College’s mascot in 2021. It’s adjacent to the college’s campus.

EvCC’s Executive Director of Government and Community Relations Dr. John Olson told Templeman he and other college leaders supports the request.

“It’s a fitting and proper tribute to a deserving public servant,” Olson wrote.

The city’s Office of Community, Planning and Economic Development will accept public comment on the proposal until Sept. 22.

City spokesperson Simone Tarver said the Everett Historical Commission will hold a public hearing Sept. 26. If the commission recommends approving the change, the motion will be forwarded to the City Council for a final decision.

Jenelle Baumbach: 360-352-8623; jenelle.baumbach@heraldnet.com; Twitter: @jenelleclar.

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