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Originally published December 1, 2009 at 9:44 PM | Page modified December 2, 2009 at 1:42 AM

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Public brings flowers, candles, prayers for fallen officers

A steady stream of people came to pay their respects to the fallen officers — parents with infants and old people with canes, men in business suits and a couple in biker leathers, teenagers in sweat pants and in skinny jeans. And standing guard, in the empty parking lot outside Forza Coffee, dozens of police officers from a half-dozen nearby towns — Milton, Sumner, Puyallup, Des Moines, University Place and Graham.

Seattle Times staff reporter

Memorial service set for Tuesday

A service for the four Lakewood officers will take place at 1 p.m. Tuesday at the Tacoma Dome. More than 20,000 law-enforcement officers are expected to attend. The event is open to the public. Anyone interested in volunteering can e-mail

Prayer service, candlelight walk tonight

A prayer service and candlelight walk will be at 7 tonight at the Lakewood YMCA, 9715 Lakewood Dr. S.W., Tacoma. The service is sponsored by Life Center church in partnership with the Lakewood YMCA, Tillicum Youth for Christ and other area churches.

How you can help

Donations for the officers' families can be mailed to the Lakewood Police Independent Guild, P.O. Box 99579, Lakewood, WA 98499. Donations can also be made online at

Coverage from the days following the Lakewood shootings

Tuesday memorial to four officers comes together swiftly

Lakewood Officer Tina Griswold was a 'ball of fire' in a tiny package

A path to murder: The story of Maurice Clemmons

Gallery | Maurice Clemmons: Path to Murder

Officer Gregory Richards was 'the golden boy'

Officer Richards' wife knew he would do his duty, no matter what

Lakewood Police Officer Ronald Owens was always smiling

Prosecutors want Clemmons' sister held in custody

Clemmons' sister taken into custody in courtroom

Clemmons repeatedly slipped through the cracks

Bank accounts may be sign Clemmons planned getaway

Lakewood Police Sgt. Mark Renninger was devoted to family, dedicated to police work

Bail-bond agents gamble on unknown

Clemmons' sister arrested during court hearing

Repeat offenders would be denied bail under measure

Nicole Brodeur | Help is coming for aunt

Clemmons traveled to meet New York minister, citing God's instructions

Clemmons' half-brother charged with helping killer elude police

Clemmons investigated by drug enforcement authorities after he moved here in 2004

More than 20,000 people expected at Tuesday's memorial for officers

Arkansas governor and Washington Gov. Chris Gregoire confer on parolees, Clemmons

Coffee shop where officers killed remains closed

Details on Tuesday memorial for four slain officers

Trusted aunt chose to do the 'right thing'

Clemmons' driver denies knowledge of plot to kill

Over 2,000 attend Lakewood vigil for 4 slain officers

Graham neighborhood embraces grieving family

Alleged accomplice used an alias

Coffee shop where officers killed remains closed

Who leaked photo of Clemmons' body? Investigations launched

Clemmons couldn't be held after 'safety net' dissolved

Calendar of memorials and vigils for slain Lakewood officers

Loyal friends, family helped Clemmons flee police

Gregoire: no more Arkansas parolees

Alleged getaway driver in officers' slaying could face murder charges

Uncle: 'He was all about money ... suddenly, he was all about God'

Routine stolen-car check led to Lakewood police-slaying suspect

Danny Westneat | Fixing blame won't fix this mess

Jerry Large | Answers more than skin deep

Public brings flowers, candles, prayers for fallen officers

E-mails show Washington state battled to keep Clemmons in custody

States at odds over warrant that might have kept Clemmons in jail

2 men charged, several others suspected of aiding alleged cop killer

Lakewood police shooting suspect shot dead by police in South Seattle early this morning

Memorial for slain officers to be next Tuesday at Tacoma Dome

Outpouring of support for families of slain officers grows

Four days in May set stage for Sunday's tragedy

Clemmons' diagnosis: stress

Persuasive appeal helped Clemmons win clemency

Political death blow for Huckabee?

How you can help

Law-enforcement officials believe Clemmons has been sheltered by family, friends

Attack on Lakewood police likely worst in state history

Slain Lakewood officers leave holes in community fabric

Furious hunt for suspect in Lakewood police slayings creates unease for black men

Grief, gratitude for slain officers

'Boom. Boom. Boom. Boom': Neighbors describe shooting of suspect

Nicole Brodeur: Breathless in Leschi — and it's not the view

RAW VIDEO: Scene where Clemmons shot by police

AUDIO | Suspect killed in Seattle

Interactive map and timeline

See the latest tweets on #WAshooting, #lakeshoot and #WAshoot

Gallery | Maurice Clemmons Killed, Community Mourns Slain Officers

Gallery | Ceda Clemmons' Damaged Home

Monday coverage

Suspect released in Arkansas after claiming he had changed

Gallery | Police search for suspected cop killer

Gallery | Lakewood police officers killed

Video | Community reflects on slain police

Video | Police shooting: Man who helped baristas

Video | SPD Det. Jeff Kappel speaks about 11-hour standoff

Brenton family statement on slain Lakewood officers

Latest on Lakewood shooting: Police searching near Dr. José Rizal Park

Police still searching for suspected cop killer

Sunday coverage

Police union sets up fund for slain officers

Former Arkansas Gov. Huckabee has controversial record of freeing criminals

Lakewood Police Department created just 5 years ago

Police again see themselves as targets

Slain officers respected for careers, family life

Lakewood police slayings appear to be worst of their kind in state history

Shocked, grieving community holds vigil for officers

Coffee house owner: Shootings 'hit close to home'

Maurice Clemmons clemency and parole documents (PDF)

Statement from Mayor Douglas Richardson and City Manager Andrew Neiditz (PDF)

City of Lakewood identifies officers (PDF)

Related links

Law justifying use of deadly force

Facebook page honoring fallen officers | Eyewitness accounts

Video | Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer discusses Lakewood slaying


Police Monday night opened the street outside the Parkland coffee shop where four police officers were shot dead Sunday morning. By noon on Tuesday, the grassy corner was lined with bouquets of flowers, their cellophane wrappers rattling in the cold wind.

A steady stream of people came to pay their respects to the fallen officers — parents with infants and old people with canes, men in business suits and a couple in biker leathers, teenagers in sweat pants and in skinny jeans. And standing guard, in the empty parking lot outside Forza Coffee, dozens of police officers from a half-dozen nearby towns — Milton, Sumner, Puyallup, Des Moines, University Place and Graham.

One mourner, Joe Smith of Spanaway, wore a blue bandanna on his head and with an eagle feather waved smoke from a smudge pot over the length of the growing memorial. A member of the Oklahoma Peoria tribe, Smith said he had heard the devastating news Sunday morning at a local gas station and wanted to offer a Native American prayer.

He chanted and swept the smoke that burned from a coil of twisted tobacco leaves, grandfather sage, lavender and cedar bark. After he had crouched and chanted over each memory book with a slain officer's name inscribed on the cover, he translated his prayer.

"They came in a good way," he said, meaning that the officers' lives were dedicated to public service. He repeated each officer's name: Mark Renninger, Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Gregory Richards. "Take them home in a good way," he continued. "Help the community to heal."

Barbara Gilreath, a Sea-Tac Fire Department chaplain, had set out the memory books that morning so visitors could write words of condolence to the surviving family members. In all, the officers left nine children behind.

"People want to come where it happened," Gilreath said. "They can write what's on their hearts and it will be very healing for the families."

Debbie Piper, of Tacoma, carefully placed a single white rose and then a single red one on the growing display of flowers. She spoke of the officers' being killed as they were doing paperwork before their Sunday shifts. "They were not prepared," she said.

Several miles away, at the Lakewood Police Department, another memorial spread up the hillside outside the brick station. There were large funeral wreaths from local businesses, teddy bears and stuffed ducks that will ultimately be delivered to the officers' children, flickering votive candles and other candles that had burned down, spilling their melted wax onto the sidewalk.

Police funneled traffic to a single lane outside the station, and dozens of people stood quietly in the street.

Wendy Galan, who lives and works in Lakewood, knew Officer Griswold. Coincidentally, she said, they were both 4 feet 11 inches tall. Griswold, she said, was strong and feisty.

"I was hoping it wasn't her. When I saw her picture, I felt like someone had punched me in the stomach," Galan said.

Lakewood police officers came out from the station and took pictures of the memorial. They hugged each other and hugged the officers from neighboring towns who were directing traffic and standing guard.

An officer from Des Moines put his arms around two from Lakewood. "You guys be safe out there," he said.

Lynn Thompson: 206-464-8305 or

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