TACOMA, Wash. -- Thousands of people have filled the Tacoma Dome to say goodbye to fallen sheriff's deputy Kent Mundell.
A procession taking Mundell's body from the Puyallup Fairgrounds to the Tacoma Dome arrived at the Tacoma Dome shortly after 11:00 a.m., two hours before the beginning of the memorial service.. The public was invited to attend the memorial and line the procession route.
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Deputy Kent Mundell was fatally shot Dec. 21 while responding to a domestic violence call near Eatonville. Mundell managed to fire back on the suspect, killing him, before Mundell collapsed. Mundell is the sixth Western Washington law enforcement officer to die violently in two months.
Hundreds of police cars were involved in the roughly 10-mile procession route, along with thousands of people from the community.
"This has been a miserable two months, no doubt about it," said Steve Mauer, Lakewood Police Dept. "I'd rather not live through this again. It's important for me to help out as much as I can to honor the officers who have gone like this. That's why I'm here."
"It's just a show of confidence in our sheriff, show of confidence and support for the sheriff's department," said Kenyon Luce, volunteer.
Final preparations at Tacoma Dome
The Tacoma Dome was abuzz last night with activity as Honor Guard members rehearsed every move they wouldl make today, down to the meticulous folding of the flag that will drape Deputy Mundell's casket.
It's a ceremony designed to honor Kent Mundell's dedication to law enforcement, but also one that has been approved, moment by moment, by the fallen officer's family.
"The only changes that they requested is instead of a 21 gun salute, was to do 21 bells. And that was adopted from the fire department, and so we continue to do whatever the family would like us to do because this is about them and making sure that their loved one is honored properly," Frank Kampsen, director for the Behind the Badge Foundation.
While today's memorial is by and for law enforcement, there are some, including Mundell's friend and today's pallbearer Shawn Reed, who are civilians.
"We did everything together growing up. He was awesome," said Reed.
He says despite the thorough rehearsal, he knows nothing will truly prepare him for what's in store this afternoon.
"I'm OK until I see other people cry, and I'm sure I'll see about 4,000 people cry. So you know, it's going to be tough. But we'll get through it, it's like we always have," said Reed.
About 130 members of Mundell's family are expected to partipicate in the procession and memorial.
Donation funds for Mundell family
Several funds have been set up for Mundell's wife and two children. You can contribute at:
The sheriff's department tells The News Tribune it has already gotten complaints from citizens about bogus companies calling them trying to solicit donations for the Mundell family. Sheriff's office spokesman Det. Ed Troyer says the department does not support those companies and that you should not give any money over the phone.
Cards to the family or Police Department may be sent to Family of Deputy Kent Mundell or Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Mountain Detachment, P.O. Box 1489, Eatonville, WA 98328.