Originally published December 5, 2009 at 12:10 AM | Page modified December 5, 2009 at 6:02 PM
Comments (0) E-mail article Print Share
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 helpTHE 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 www.lpig.us.
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, www.forzacoffeecompany.com.
Tuesday memorial detailsThe 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 www.seattletimes.com.
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
Persuasive appeal helped Clemmons win clemency
Political death blow for Huckabee?
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
Gallery | Maurice Clemmons Killed, Community Mourns Slain Officers
Gallery | Ceda Clemmons' Damaged HomeMonday coverage
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
Lakewood police slayings appear to be worst of their kind in state history
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
NewsTribune.com | 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Katherine Long: 206-464-2219 or email@example.com
UPDATE - 6:15 AM
This week's passages
Obituary: Douglas W. Luna, 67, passionate about the law and helping others
Entertainment | Top Video | World | Offbeat Video | Sci-Tech
general classifiedsGarage & estate sales
Furniture & home furnishings
POST A FREE LISTING