SEATTLE - For the third time in less than eight weeks, police in Washington state have been shot in the line of duty, this time by a man who was drunk and waiting to ambush two officers who were called to remove him from his brother's home, authorities said yesterday.
David E. Crable, 35, shot two sheriff's officers Monday night before he was killed in the subsequent shoot-out, Pierce County sheriff's spokesman Ed Troyer said. Crable has a history of domestic violence and of "terrorizing" his family, he added.
Sheriff's Sgt. Nick Hausner, 43, and Deputy Kent Mundell, 44, were wounded after responding to the domestic-disturbance call at the home near the town of Eatonville, about 50 miles south of Seattle.
"He knew the officers were coming," Troyer said. "He intentionally hid it; he waited for them to get inside then he opened fire - at least 10 rounds - on both of them."
Many of the deputies who rushed to the rural cabin had investigated the fatal shootings of four Lakewood officers just three weeks ago, he said.
"I think some people, when the call went out, didn't believe it was real," Troyer said.
Hausner was in serious condition at Madigan Army Medical Center near Tacoma, and Mundell was in critical condition with life-threatening wounds at Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, Troyer said.
He said that Crable's 15-year-old daughter was staying at the home of Crable's brother, who was identified in court papers as Edward J. Crable.
The brother called deputies to have an intoxicated Crable removed from the home, and Crable initially agreed to leave with the officers.
Crable was holding clothes concealing a handgun that he then pulled out and fired at the officers, who shot back, Troyer said.
He said Mundell was struck several times, but returned fire before he apparently was hit again.
Crable "didn't need to do it. He wasn't going to jail. He wasn't under arrest. They were actually going to give him a ride out of there and give him a helping hand to defuse the situation," Troyer said.
Crable's daughter and brother dragged Hausner into a bedroom and gave him first aid before the daughter ran to the neighbors and called 9-1-1, Troyer said.
Sheriff Paul Pastor said that deputies were filled with "anger and sadness and disbelief" at yet another shooting. Such danger "is in the front of the mind" for officers, but "we won't let fear direct us," he said.
The four Lakewood officers were shot in a coffee shop as they were doing paperwork before their shift. After a two-day manhunt, suspect Maurice Clemmons was shot to death by a Seattle police officer. The Thanksgiving weekend attack on the officers occurred about 17 miles northwest of Monday's shooting.
A month earlier, Seattle Officer Timothy Brenton was killed as he sat in his patrol car on Halloween night.