Victim: Releasing a convicted cop shooter is a mistake

Victim: Releasing a convicted cop shooter is a mistake
SEATTLE -- A convicted cop shooter is set to be back on the streets in just one week. But his victim says that's repeating the mistakes that led to the murders of four Lakewood police officers.

Mike Fitzpatrick spoke exclusively to the KOMO 4 Problem Solvers as he described the night 28 years ago when he fought for his life.

"I remember the look in his eyes when I was fighting him, face-to-face," he said.

Former Richland Police Officer Fitzpatrick nearly died that day at the hands of convicted felon Jerry Lain.

Fitzpatrick still works as an officer, and he still vividly recalls Lain grabbing his gun and shooting him in the stomach then in the face.

"What he tried to do was put it in my mouth to finish me off, but I was still fighting," said Fitzpatrick.

The attack rocked the Tri-Cities, especially since Lain was a parole violator from Iowa. Lain was convicted and sentenced to life after the attack on Fitzpatrick.

But now, after 28 years behind bars, the Sentencing Review Board has decided to release Lain.

"We feel like 28 years, in this case is, we hope, enough time that he will be able to successfully reintegrate back into society," said board chairperson Lynne DeLano.

In addition to Lain's stabbing conviction in Iowa and his conviction here for assaulting Fitzpatrick, Lain has had 18 serious infractions during his incarceration, although none of them came after 2004. The review board says it is releasing Lain due to the amount of time he had served, how he appeared at his parole hearing and what he'd accomplished during incarceration. DeLano believes the community will be safe.

"You know, I can't guarantee that. I don't think anybody could, but we believe he will be safe," she said.

The board only approved Lain's release if he goes to Iowa where he has family and a better chance toward successful reintegration. But KOMO News obtained documents showing the board wouldn't release him here due to "current tension surrounding high profile cases." They were referring to the murders of four Lakewood officers by Maurice Clemmons, a parole violator.

Fitzpatrick believes the risk of another Lakewood incident is too high if Lain is released.

"I think eventually he'll hurt somebody else, kill somebody else," he said.

Fitzpatrick came to the Problem Solvers for help because everyone else told him there was nothing more to be done. But we learned late Monday afternoon that Gov. Chris Gregoire does have the ability to cancel or revoke parole. We've contacted her office, asked her to take a look at this case and let us know what she decides.