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Thread: Deputy Steve Cox - King Co, WA
12-03-06, 12:52 PM #1
Deputy Steve Cox - King Co, WA
King County deputy shot, killed
Alleged killer gunned down by other deputies at White Center scene
By HECTOR CASTRO
In a few brief moments early Saturday, King County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Cox was fatally shot in the back room of a White Center home before other deputies shot and killed his alleged assailant.
Cox, 46, died hours later at Harborview Medical Center from a gunshot wound to his head, having never regained consciousness.
Cox, 46, was active in the White Center community.
He was apparently caught off guard by his killer, whom he was interviewing about an earlier shooting outside the home.
"His firearm was holstered," Sgt. John Urquhart said of Cox. "Never drew his gun."
He was the first deputy to die in the line of duty since 2002, when Deputy Rich Herzog was shot and killed with his own gun, snatched away by a man high on drugs.
A former King County deputy prosecutor, Cox was an experienced deputy of nine years.
Well regarded by local merchants and residents, word of Cox's death quickly spread through the White Center neighborhood. Many stopped by the White Center Sheriff and Community Service Center on 16th Avenue Southwest to drop off flowers, photos of Cox at different community events, or just to express their condolences to deputies choking back tears.
"He had a very personal connection with the community," Sheriff Sue Rahr said outside the service center. "He was like the town marshal and he took pride in that."
The shooting happened at a home on 12th Avenue Southwest near Southwest 107th Street, Urquhart said.
Darryl Quincy, whose son played high school football with Cox, lives just down the block.
"I did hear what I thought was a shot," Quincy said. "It woke me."
Someone closer to the shooting called 911 about 1:42 a.m. Saturday to report the shooting, Urquhart said.
Upon arriving, deputies learned that a man in a Ford F-150 had been driving around in the area, possibly intoxicated, and crashed into a vehicle outside this home.
Investigators believe the vehicle that was hit belonged to someone attending a party at the house.
"People in the party house came out and beat the crap out of him and shot him," Urquhart said.
Arriving deputies found the driver of the truck shot at least once in the head, but his injuries were not considered life-threatening. He was taken to Harborview and deputies began rounding up possible witnesses.
That investigation remains open and as of Saturday evening, no one had been arrested for that shooting.
As is routine, deputies at the scene separated people to interview them. Cox was in a back bedroom conducting interviews. There were four to five other deputies in the house, Urquhart said.
But Cox, being the most familiar with the neighborhood and, in fact, acquainted with several people attending the party, was the lead deputy at the scene.
About 45 minutes had passed after the arrival of the deputies when the gunfire began.
"He's got a lot of them back there and a shot rings out," Urquhart said.
Two deputies began moving toward the back room when the suspected gunman began shooting at them. They returned fire, Urquhart said.
"There were lots of shots fired," he said.
The deputies rushed into the back room and found the gunman dead and Cox mortally wounded.
Medics transported the deputy to Harborview, where he died about 6 a.m.
Though he never regained consciousness, his wife, young son, and other relatives were able to say goodbye before he died, Rahr said.
All of the remaining witnesses were taken to the Seattle police South Precinct for continued interviewing, Urquhart said. The deputies at the scene were taken to Seattle's Southwest precinct.
The two deputies who shot the gunman have both been placed on paid leave, as is standard practice with most law enforcement agencies.
The alleged gunman is a 23-year-old Burien man with a criminal record that includes felony convictions and arrests for drug violations, possession of stolen property and assault, court records show.
The King County Medical Examiner's Office has not released his name. An autopsy on the man is scheduled for Monday.
It was unclear what kind of firearm the gunman used or what prompted him to shoot.
Though the deputies had cleared the house of any obvious dangers, they would not have had authority to frisk anyone inside for weapons nor conduct a thorough search without a warrant, Rahr said.
"This was one of those things you just can't predict," she said.
After Cox was shot, sheriff officials began meeting almost immediately to determine the best way to help his family, Rahr said.
Cox and his wife had only recently adopted their son, she said.
"I've never seen Steve so happy," Rahr said.
Cox joined the King County Sheriff's Office about nine years ago. Tacoma police officer Henry Gill was one of his instructors at the Washington state law enforcement academy in Burien.
"He was a straight-up deputy," Gill said. "He was a leader within the class."
Cox became a cop as a second career. Before, he'd been a deputy prosecutor in King, Franklin and Adams counties, Urquhart said.
For more than three years, he'd been assigned to the White Center area and spent his whole career with King County in that region, working the entire time in Precinct 4, which includes White Center.
He was heavily involved in the community, where he also owned property. Tall, with a shaved head and the posture of a drill sergeant, Cox was a familiar site at community functions, local schools and chatting up the local merchants. He was also president of the North Highline Unincorporated Council.
Some who knew him began leaving bouquets of flowers, placing them alongside a patrol car parked at the scene of the shooting to keep traffic away. Others dropped off even more flowers and cards at the community service center.
Gill, the Tacoma officer, stood guard outside the center, a black strip of tape across his badge. Tacoma police have offered to provide 24-hour security at the community center to free King County deputies to mourn their loss.
A table was set up outside to hold the growing collection of flowers and cards. A deputy in uniform, his eyes welling with tears, watched as two small children dropped off small bunches of flowers.
"Steve was one of those officers who really stood out," Rahr said. "It's like losing a member of the family."Molly Weasley makes Chuck Norris eat his vegetables.
Do not puff, shade, skew, tailor, firm up, stretch, massage,
or otherwise distort statements of fact.FBI Special Agent Coleen Rowley
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