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Originally published December 5, 2009 at 12:10 AM | Page modified December 5, 2009 at 6:02 PM

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Lakewood Police Officer Ronald Owens was always smiling

Lakewood Police Officer Ronald Owens II — Ronnie to his friends — always had a big smile on his face. A good basketball player, a passionate NASCAR fan and a devoted dad who spent almost all of his days off with his 7-year-old daughter. If you met him, his fellow officers said, you'd want to be his friend.

Seattle Times staff reporters

How to help

THE LAKEWOOD Police Independent Guild is taking donations for the families of the four slain police officers.

Police guild: Checks can be made to the LPIG Benevolent Fund and sent to P.O. Box 99579, Lakewood, WA 98499. Donations also can be made online at

Forza Coffee Co: The Forza Coffee Co., the Lakewood coffee shop that was the site of last Sunday's shooting, has set up donation boxes at its stores. Donations also can be made at the Forza Web site,

Tuesday memorial details

The memorial service for the four Lakewood police officers will be held at the Tacoma Dome at 1 p.m., preceded by a procession. For a map of the procession route, go to

Procession: The procession will begin at approximately 10 a.m. at the McChord Air Force Base North Gate. It will proceed through Lakewood to the Lakewood Police Department, where the families of the slain officers and the Lakewood Police will join the procession. They will proceed from there to the Tacoma Dome.

Memorial service: The memorial service is open to the public, but there will be limited seated due to the anticipated number of law enforcement and other public safety personnel attending. Officials recommend that the public select a spot along the processional route to show their respect or attend a memorial service at a remote site, such as the Pacific Lutheran University's Olson Auditorium.

Source: Pierce County

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

His name was Ronald Owens II, but his friends all called him Ronnie.

He was the Lakewood cop who always had a big smile on his face. A good basketball player, a passionate NASCAR fan who wore his hair in a curly blond mullet, and a devoted dad who spent almost all of his days off with his 7-year-old daughter.

If you met him, his fellow officers said, you'd want to be his friend.

Officer Owens, 37, a second-generation police officer and former Washington State Patrol trooper, was one of the four Lakewood officers shot and killed on Sunday by gunman Maurice Clemmons as they worked on police paperwork at a Parkland coffee shop.

"He was a very dedicated father, first and foremost," said Lakewood Police Officer Jeff Martin, who knew him for 11 years and counted Officer Owens as his best friend.

Martin said Officer Owens, who was divorced, spent almost all of off-duty time with his daughter. He attended all of her school and family functions, rode bicycles with her, and treated her to events like "Disney on Ice."

"He was very carefree and always ready to make you laugh," Martin said. "Not a negative bone in his body. He never complained. With being a police officer, a lot of the negativity you see over time catches up with you, and he just had the unique ability not to dwell on it."

Officer Owens was drawn to police work by his father, also named Ronald Owens, who was a sergeant in the Tacoma Police Department and retired in 1980. He died in 2006.

His fellow officers say Officer Owens' easygoing nature made him fun to be around, but he never hesitated to pitch in and do things for others — whether it was helping a fellow officer process evidence or changing a motorist's tire on the side of the road.

"I can remember him stopping for a disabled vehicle one night," said Washington State Patrol Trooper Al Havenner, who worked with Officer Owens for several years while he was with the Washington State Patrol. "It was raining. I rolled up on him to see what was going on, and he was changing a tire — not angry but smiling about it. It was what he did."

Officer Owens served with the state patrol from 1997 to 2004, and he joined the Lakewood Police Department when it was formed in 2004.

"There was probably no one better — you didn't even have to ask him for help," Havenner said. "He was always the first one there to lend a hand. In our line of work, we answer a lot of calls for service, and he was always the guy to grab the radio and say he'd be en route to a call."

Havenner described Officer Owens as a man who treated everyone with respect — even people who didn't do much to deserve it.

"I remember one instance, it was a DUI, and it was the kind of DUI who was very belligerent," Havenner said, "but Ronnie kept his composure and treated the guy with the utmost respect. That's a rare breed in law enforcement, and that's who Ronnie was."

Lakewood Fire District Capt. Mike Harn also saw that side of him when the two worked together on calls.

"Sometimes I don't know how the cops do it," Harn said. "He was able to keep a positive attitude and treat people with respect who may not have deserved respect. You'd kind of like to emulate that."

Officer Owens was also "extremely loyal to his friends," Martin said. "You could have a private conversation with Ronnie — and it would absolutely remain private, period."

Officer Owens and Sgt. Mark Renninger, who also was killed in the shooting, were both NASCAR fans. "They would talk about engines and torque," Lakewood Officer Mike Wiley said, and once they started talking NASCAR, no one could get them to stop.

Officer Owens had an unusually close relationship with Lakewood Fire District firefighters. Before the Lakewood Police Department building was constructed, some of the Lakeview police force was stationed in a building near the fire department, and Officer Owens was one of several who came over often to share dinner or Sunday breakfast.

"Oh man, he's about the nicest guy on the planet," said Harn, who got to know Officer Owens from dinners at the station and charity basketball games between the two departments.

"He always had a smile on his face."

Officer Owens' family released this statement to the Tacoma News Tribune:

"Ronnie Owens was first and foremost a loving and devoted father. He lived his entire life in Parkland and was honored to serve this community. Our family would like to thank everyone for their support and prayers. He will be greatly missed by all."

Officer Owens is survived by his mother, two sisters and his daughter.

Mark Rahner: 206-464-8259 or Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or

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