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Woman talks of loss, need for change after deadly Wal-Mart shooting

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on June 19, 2009 at 1:01 pm with No Comments »
June 19, 2009 1:01 pm

Deborah Bishop is ready to talk about her fiancee – Loomis armored car guard Kurt Husted – and what she’d like to see changed in the wake of his death.

Husted, 38, was fatally shot during a robbery June 2 inside the Lakewood Wal-Mart. Friends, family and coworkers will gather Saturday for a celebration of his life at the Tacoma Elks Lodge.

Bishop contacted The News Tribune on Thursday in hopes of getting her message out. We sat down for an hour-long talk this morning. A full story will appear in Saturday’s News Tribune but here a few snippets of our interview as I complete my story.

“Besides my heart, which Kurt knows he has, the only two things I have left to give him are justice and change,” Bishop said this morning. “I don’t want to be afraid every day when I walk out my front door to go to the store or go to work that I am going to be shot and killed.”

She doesn’t have all the details worked out but she knows that something needs to change with the criminal justice system. And she knows she’ll need the help of the public to accomplish something good after Husted’s death.

“I want people to hear me and come together with me,” said Bishop, a passionate woman whose outlook on life has been molded over the years by painful experiences and heart break. “I need something positive to come out of this.”

Husted, 38, was picking up checks and cash from the Lakewood Wal-Mart when he was gunned down as he headed back to the armored car June 2.

Pierce County prosecutors have said a group of four people planned the armed robbery for a month and conducted surveillance inside the Wal-Mart store in the days before the deadly heist. Prosecutors have charged the alleged shooter and his alleged accomplice inside the store with aggravated first-degree murder, the state’s highest crime, and other charges. They’ve pleaded not guilty and remained jail, awaiting trial.

Two others – the alleged getaway driver and a Wal-Mart employee who helped plan the robbery – have pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and robbery charges. A fifth person has pleaded not guilty to rendering criminal assistance and obstructing a police officer.

She wants the public to know that Husted’s death was not a hate crime. He was not working his normal route the day of the shooting. Bishop believes the suspects would have targeted whomever did that route June 2.

“It was the poor, unfortunate soul who walked in that day, their time was up,” Bishop said.

Bishop also wants no one to hate the people accused of killing Husted. She doesn’t and knows that hate can blacken a person’s heart. Thirteen years ago, she said some people hurt her physically and emotionally.

For a year, she hated them and dreamed every night of killing them, then herself. Eventually, her future brother-in-law sat Bishop down and told her that the hatred had changed her.

“These people don’t care whether you love or hate them,” he told Bishop. “The only person who cares is you.”

That changed Bishop’s life and her attitude. Since Husted’s death, she’s recited the valuable lesson to her brother-in-law.

“I am not going to waste one second of my time hating these people because I am not going to let them win again,” Bishop said. “Take that time and energy and focus to help me help us make change.”

Bishop was sent a poem Thursday that she’s found appropriate and has shared it with loved ones and strangers. Here it is:

I wish you enough rain to appreciate the sun even more.

I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit alive and everlasting.

I wish you enough pain so that even the smallest of joys in life may appear bigger.

I wish you enough gain to satisfy your wanting.

I wish you enough loss to appreciate all that you possess.

I wish you enough hellos to get you through the final good-bye.

The Associated Ministries has decided not to do a Moment of Blessing for Husted. Here’s the explanation that was sent out Thursday:

Associated Ministries will not be conducting a Moment of Blessing at the Lakewood Wal-Mart.

We have had multiple conversations with the local manager and he has been very supportive of having a Moment of Blessing. However, after checking with National Headquarters, it was determined that having such an event on the premise conflicted with company policy. Associated Ministries is grateful to local management for their efforts.

We are suggesting the following as an alternative. This weekend at your house of worship, please take time for a special prayer for Kurt Husted, his family, Loomis employees and all of the people who work and frequent the Wal-Mart store. Also, we are requesting prayers for the people who committed this horrible crime.

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