Mayor: Slain Lakewood officers were 'dedicated, selfless'

Mayor: Slain Lakewood officers were 'dedicated, selfless'
The slain Lakewood officers are (clockwise from upper left) Sergeant Mark Renninger, 39; Officer Greg Richards, 42; Officer Ronald Owen, 37; Officer Tina Griswold, 40.
LAKEWOOD, Wash. - The four officers who were shot and killed at a Lakewood coffee shop Sunday morning were all members of the original Lakewood police force, said Lakewood Mayor Douglas Richardson.

They were identified as:

• Sergeant Mark Renninger, 39, with thirteen years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a wife, two daughters and a son.

In a statement issued Sunday, the family said: "Mark was a professional, dedicated police officer who made the ultimate sacrifice. More importantly, he was a loving and devoted father, husband and family member who will be missed by many."

Renninger grew up in Bethlehem, Pa., and came to Washington state after he joined the military, family members said.

• Officer Ronald Owens, age 37 with twelve years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a former wife and a daughter.

• Officer Tina Griswold, age 40 with fourteen years of law enforcement experience. She is survived by her husband and two children.

• Officer Greg Richards, age 42 with eight years of law enforcement experience. He is survived by a wife and three children.

Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar publicly identified the four slain police officers after an extensive and very difficult notification process.

"All four of our slain officers had been with this department since it started five years ago. Sergeant Mark Renninger and Officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold, and Greg Richards were police veterans when they started and all have been outstanding professionals.

"This is a very difficult time for our families and our officers. The families will have many challenges ahead of them and we ask that their privacy be respected. Please keep our families and Lakewood Police in your prayers."

Richardson and Neiditz said all four transferred to Lakewood as commissioned law enforcement officers from other jurisdictions when the police force was formed.

 Hundreds of police vehicles take part in a procession to honor the fallen officers Sunday night.
"Their dedication and selfless service contributed immensely toward the successful creation of the Lakewood Police Department," the statement said.

"Today we have four fewer officers from our force of one hundred commissioned officers. They will be sorely missed. Support from other law enforcement agencies has been very responsive and deeply appreciated."

Across the country, thousands of people have joined a Facebook page dedicated to the four slain officers. By 9 p.m. Sunday, the page had nearly 20,000 followers.

The four officers were shot and killed as they were preparing for their shifts at the Forza Coffee Co. shop at 11401 Steele St. South.

A lone gunman shot the four uniformed officers as they were working on their laptop computers, then fled the scene. A motive has not been determined.

Richardson and Neiditz called it the "most tragic event in Lakewood's fourteen years as a city."

"We lost four of our finest in a shocking, heartbreaking, and senseless murder. Our hearts, thoughts, and prayers are with the families and colleagues of these innocent victims during this extraordinarily difficult time."

Richards' sister-in-law, Melanie Burwell, called the shooting "senseless."

"He didn't have a mean bone in his body," she said. "If there were more people in the world like Greg, things like this wouldn't happen.

Those interested in supporting the families of the slain officers are welcome to make a donation through the Lakewood Police Independent Guild (LPIG) Benevolent Fund at PO Box 99579, Lakewood, WA 98499. Please visit the Web site for more information.