Police radios will go silent in memory of Sgt. Jim Kinard

The homegrown Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy was shot to death 25 years ago in the line of duty.

Sgt. James Kinard

Sgt. James Kinard

EVERETT — Police radios around Snohomish County will go silent at 10:24 p.m. Thursday.

It will mark 25 years, to the minute, since Sgt. Jim Kinard was shot to death in the line of duty, while responding to a homicide in Cathcart.

Kinard, 34, a native of Everett, had served as a Snohomish County sheriff’s deputy for a decade, in high-risk roles on the county’s SWAT team, dive team and K-9 unit.

Friends knew him as Jimmy.

He’d been shot once before, in 1988, when he chased a domestic violence suspect into the woods on the Tulalip reservation, according to Daily Herald archives. The man attacked Kinard, disarmed him and shot him in the hip. Another deputy was shot in the knee. Both lived. They subdued the man and were back on patrol in months.

Kinard’s mother, Phyllis, the one-time chair of Providence Hospital’s board of directors, told the sheriff’s office in a pre-hire interview that she didn’t want her son to become a police officer. But it was Kinard’s dream.

He earned his sergeant stripes in 1992. Outside of work, he taught swimming lessons; played golf with the sheriff, who was his neighbor in Marysville; and rooted for his alma mater, the University of Washington.

On Aug. 15, 1994, an ex-convict named Charles Finch bought a semiautomatic pistol from a coworker and went to his estranged wife’s home on Elliott Road. Finch rushed inside and shot to death her former boyfriend, Ronald Modlin, 38, who was staying there. Modlin was blind.

Two hours later, Finch called 911. He told a dispatcher he put the weapon outside, and that he would come out when the officers arrived. Instead, he opened fire on them.

Kinard was shot in the head.

After a SWAT standoff, Finch was arrested. A jury found him guilty of double murder. A death sentence was overturned on appeal, because jurors saw the defendant in handcuffs. During a second trial to decide if he would be sentenced to death, in 2000, he jumped headfirst from a balcony in jail. Finch died of his injuries, weeks later.

Kinard was the first Snohomish County deputy killed on duty in more than 75 years. None have been killed since.

On Thursday night, Kinard will be honored with a brief police radio broadcast, and a few moments of silence.

Few deputies and staff on duty today served alongside Kinard, who wore badge No. 1152.

“Many only know of Jim from stories, but a handful of others were fortunate to have the opportunity to know him and work with him,” reads a transcript of the prepared statement. “But all of us should remember his name and the legacy of his service.”

In a room on the fourth floor of the Snohomish County courthouse, the sheriff’s office has briefed the public in recent years on some of the region’s biggest arrests, and some of its most heartbreaking tragedies.

It’s known as the Kinard Room.

An earlier version of this story misstated some of the legal proceedings in Charles Finch’s case.

Caleb Hutton: 425-339-3454; chutton@heraldnet.com. Twitter: @snocaleb.

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