Lights & Sirens

Go behind the yellow tape with The News Tribune

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Archives: May 2011

May
3rd

Bail set at $1 million for Auburn man accused of fatally shooting middle school coach

A King County judge today set bail at $1 million for an 18-year-old Auburn man accused of fatally shooting a middle school coach Sunday.

Prosecutors have until Wednesday to file charges of second-degree murder and first-degree assault against Olenthis Woods, who remains jailed.

The Medical Examiner’s Office has identified the victim as Shennon Shelton, who worked as a football and basketball coach at Cascade Middle School.

Police said Shelton and his 23-year-old brother approached Woods’ apartment in the 3700 block of C Court Southeast after trying to break up a brawl between two feuding families.

Woods told detectives that when

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May
3rd

Investigator: Fife police lieutenant dropped ball on sexual harassment claims

A Fife police lieutenant violated city policies by not following through on a subordinate employee’s complaints that she was the victim of an increasingly aggressive pattern of sexual harassment by a police officer over nearly a decade, an investigator working for the city concluded.

The woman said the officer regularly showed her pornographic pictures on his cell phone, exposed himself and masturbated in front of her in various places on the job, including in an office and the jury room, according to the investigator’s report.

The woman said she went along with some of the activity, according to the report, which notes one instance of consensual intercourse in the weight room. She decided to report the behavior to a supervisor after the officer’s overtures became more aggressive, such as asking to come to her house, the document states.

The investigation of Lt. Doug Burrus – released to The News Tribune this morning – determined that Burrus failed to report the alleged victim’s concerns when she shared them with him in 2009, that he did not immediately report his involvement in the matter when an investigation began last November, and that he was not forthcoming during his interview, according to the report by Beth Kennar, who works for the Seattle-based Summit Law Group.

Burrus said the woman told him only about the pornographic pictures, but he didn’t report them because she insisted the matter be kept confidential, the report said; she just wanted the conduct to stop. But city policy spells out that supervisors must immediately report up the chain of command when confronted with a harassment complaint.

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May
3rd

Four Lakewood officers getting ready to pedal on behalf of slain brethren

Four members of the Lakewood Police Department will be leaving this weekend to take part in an annual bicycle ride honoring slain police officers.

This will be the second year that Sgts. Mark Eakes and John Fraser and officers Michelle Hector and Charles Porche will ride in the Police Unity Tour, a 320-mile, four-day ride on the East Coast.

The four did the ride last year in honor of their four slain colleagues – Lakewood police Sgt. Mark Renninger and officers Tina Griswold, Ronald Owens and Greg Richards – and other law enforcement officers killed while on duty

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May
3rd

Tacoma man with prior murder rap now off to prison for gun possession

A Tacoma man who pleaded guilty as a teenager to killing an acquaintance now has been sentenced to federal prison for illegally possessing a gun.

U.S. District Court Judge Ricardo S. Martinez handed down an eight-year sentence Friday to Wyatt Anthony Bird, 31.

Bird previously pleaded guilty to being a felon in possession of a firearm.

He was arrested outside a Tacoma bar in July 2009 on suspicion of violating the terms of his probation and apparently was found to be in possession of a gun.

In 1995, Bird, then 15, pleaded guilty to second-degree murder in the shooting death

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May
3rd

Events planned to honor law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty

The law enforcement community is preparing to honor their fallen officers with two events this week.

The annual Pierce County Law Enforcement Memorial Service will be held Thursday. The ceremony begins at 6 p.m. in the Sharon McGavick Student Center at Clover Park Technical College, 4500 Steilacoom Blvd. S.W., in Lakewood.

The event remembers the law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in Pierce County.

On Friday, the state will recognize officers who’ve been killed while on duty or who have distinguished themselves by exceptional meritorious conduct.

The Law Enforcement Medal of Honor-Peace Officers Memorial Combined

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May
3rd

Detached garage on Tacoma’s East Side damaged by flames

A malfunctioning florescent light sparked a fire early today inside a detached garage on Tacoma’s East Side.

Tacoma firefighters were called to the fire in the 4500 block of East E Street just after midnight, the department reported on its blog.

Crews found heavy smoke and flames coming from the 720-square foot, detached garage.  Firefighters prevented the fire from spreading to adjacent buildings.

No injuries were reported.

Investigators determined that “electrical arching from a malfunctioning florescent light” ignited the blaze. It caused about $105,000 in damage to the building and its contents.

May
3rd

Prosecutors to review crash that killed popular UP assistant principal

Tacoma police will forward their investigation into a crash Saturday that killed a popular University Place assistant principal to Pierce County prosecutors for review.

Bryan Beale, 37, was killed Saturday morning when the motorcycle he was riding struck an SUV at the intersection of South 12th and South Stevens streets. Witnesses reported the driver of the SUV ran a red light, police have reported.

Neither drugs nor alcohol appeared to have been a factor, police reported. The SUV driver was not arrested or cited at the scene.

Police investigators will wait for prosecutors to review the findings of the

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May
3rd

Flags lowered today for slain White Swan Marine

The U.S. flags at all state agency buildings will be lowered today in memory of a U.S. Marine from White Swan who was killed last month in Afghanistan.

Gov. Chris Gregoire has ordered flags to remain at half-staff in honor of Lance Cpl. Joe Jackson until the end today or first thing Wednesday.

Jackson, 22, was killed April 24 after an improvised explosive device detonated next to him while he was on foot patrol in Afghanistan.