Family and friends of slain Lakewood officers relieved



Posted on December 1, 2009 at 7:21 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 1 at 7:33 PM

LAKEWOOD, Wash. - Tonight four families of the slain Lakewood police officers and their neighbors are relieved the accused gunman is no longer a threat.

Outside Sgt. Mark Renninger's home an American flag is proudly displayed.

Christmas decorations adorn the outside of the home but there is not much cheer in this neighborhood.

Lilillan Neaves lives across the street from Renninger.

"I can hardly keep from crying. Every time I think of something like this happening. It is just unbelievable somebody can do that," she said.

Gary Thompson has lived across the street from Renninger for six years. He called the Renninger family "the perfect neighbors."

Thompson cays the death of suspected gunman Maurice Clemmons "bittersweet."

"Relief. Glad that he is off the street. Save other people maybe from some harm. Especially a police officer," he said.

Several large bouquets of flowers sit outside the home of slain officer Gary Richards. Neighbors say the father of three was focused on his family and would often be seen walking his kids to school.

Neighbor Angela Leeth called the murder of the Lakewood officer "upsetting. Too close to home." She says she will sleep better at night knowing the suspected murderer is dead.

"Relief. We didn't want to go out of our houses at night," she said.

Lakewood Officer Tina Griswold's father Stanton DeLong is a retired law enforcement officer. He is relieved Maurice Clemmons is no longer on the streets.

"We knew that this man would not kill again, especially an officer that would stop him.," he said.