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Remembering Pierce County’s past fallen officers

Post by Stacey Mulick / The News Tribune on Nov. 29, 2009 at 11:10 am |
July 14, 2010 11:38 am

The last Pierce County law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty was Tacoma police officer James G. Lewis, who died April 27, 2004, when his police motorcycle crashed into a Saturn making a turn at the intersection of South 55th and Alaska streets. He was 45.

Here’s a list of Pierce County’s fallen officers:

• Tacoma police officer Minor Cudihee died July 30, 1892, after a man attacked him and his partner with a knife.

• Puyallup police officer William Jeffrey was shot and killed Sept. 30, 1894.

• Tacoma police officer William Wickman died Sept. 9, 1925, while chasing a speeder.

• Eatonville Town Marshal Dolar LaPlant was shot and killed Sept. 9, 1925.

• Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms officer Kinky Thompson died in Tacoma on July 27, 1927.

• Washington State Patrol trooper Douglas Cossman died in 1929 after a motorcycle collision in Puyallup.

• Puyallup Police Chief Frank Chadwick and officer Harry Storem died July 15, 1935, shot by a bank robber.

• U.S. Marshal Artis J. Chitty was killed as two criminals tried to escape from federal court Aug. 22, 1940, in Tacoma.

• Pierce County deputies Arthur Varco and Lawrence Bunce and Tacoma police officers Paul Trent and Marty Joyce died in a fiery crash at South 11th Street and Pacific Avenue on Nov. 23, 1941.

• Tacoma Sgt. Leif “Ben” Overdahl, who was the jail superintendent, died of a heart attack Jan. 22, 1957, while trying to remove a drunk from a restaurant on South K Street.

• State Patrol trooper Ernest Eichorn died directing traffic at the Puyallup Fair in 1958.

• Tacoma police officer Larry L. Frost died Sept. 9, 1977, while trying to arrest a man for breaking a store window near South 64th Street and South Tacoma Way. The man wrestled Frost’s gun away, jumped on top of him and shot him.

• State Liquor Control Board senior enforcement agent Mel Journey was shot Nov. 15, 1977, in his driveway as he left for work by two gunmen who ran down the street. He recovered but later contracted hepatitis C from the tainted blood that saved his life. He died in January 1999. The investigation into his attack uncovered a widespread racketeering ring involving topless bars in Pierce County, ending with the indictment of 15 men, including Sheriff George Janovich.

• Pierce County sheriff’s deputy Kenneth Moran died Oct. 6, 1978, as he warned Parkland residents to take cover because bank robbers were in the area. Moran was shot by robbers later branded the “Parkland Seven.”

• Terry Hoffer, a Washington Fish and Wildlife officer, was fatally shot in Nov.  10, 1984, near Buckley.

• Tacoma police officer Craig A. Nollmeyer died Jan. 24, 1985, as he investigated a report of a fight between a man and his estranged wife in the North End. The husband killed both his wife and Nollmeyer, who was walking down an alley toward the home.

• Tacoma police officer Larry W. Walker died Oct. 25, 1986, as his partner struggled with a man accused of waving a knife at his wife. Walker’s partner fired at the man, and a bullet hit Walker, killing him.

• Pierce County sheriff’s deputy John Bananola died Oct. 16, 1995, during a drug raid.

• Tacoma police detective William Lowry died Aug. 28, 1997, while trying to arrest a man in an East Side home.

• Tacoma police officer James G. Lewis died April 27, 2004, when his police motorcycle crashed into a Saturn making a turn at the intersection of South 55th and Alaska streets. He was 45.

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