Slain Lakewood officers came from other departments

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by KYLE MOORE / KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on November 30, 2009 at 6:27 PM

Updated Monday, Nov 30 at 11:41 PM

LAKEWOOD, Wash. – The deaths of four police officers is being mourned by police departments statewide. Every one of the officers had police experience elsewhere before joining the Lakewood force.

"Without a doubt, he was obviously the best officer I ever worked with," said Sgt. Eric Lund, Tacoma Police Guild, about Sgt. Mark Renninger.

Lund describes Renninger more like a big brother.

"He would have done anything for anybody. I know that for a fact. He would have been the first guy to jump in front of a bullet for anybody," said Lund.

Renninger worked for eight years at the Tukwila Police Department and was a SWAT member. Friends describe the husband and father of three as a natural leader. He was considered a rock who was very concerned about fellow officers' safety.

"If somebody was going into a situation that was unsafe, he would grab you and pull you back," said Lund.

In his spare time, Renninger was a fan of speed and loved watching NASCAR races. While he did not attend the school, he made a point to cheer for Penn State's football team.

Ofc. Greg Richards was dedicated to his job. The husband and father of three made family his top priority.

Before Lakewood, Richards was a Kent police officer.

"He was once of those individuals who never did anything wrong in his life. He was one of the easiest backgrounds I ever did," said Lt. Lisa Price, who screened Richards before he was hired in Kent.

Richards was a drummer in a rock band who once played a charity concert for a hospitalized fellow officer.

Ofc. Ronald Owens was known for as a sharp, dedicated, hard-working cop whose positive attitude was contagious. Owens leaves behind a little daughter.

For seven years, Owens worked as a Washington State Trooper.

"Was an outstanding individual. Never negative. Always positive, upbeat," said Trooper Keith Leary.

Owens' co-workers say he looked like a surfer, but had a passion for riding dirt bikes with his co-workers and friends.

Ofc. Tina Griswold comes from a family of police officers. Her father was a deputy in Mason County and her sister is a cop in Spokane.

"I can't tell you how painful it is to lose my sister to me. I can't. I don't know what the days to come will be like," said Tiffany Ryan.

Griswold was just 4-feet, 11-inches tall, but former co-workers at the Lacey Police Department say she made up for it with her physical strength. She was a member of the SWAT team.

"Outstanding physical condition. Very conscious of her health," said Lacey police Lt. Phil Comstock.

Griswold stayed very active and enjoyed cooking, entertaining and having friends over for her well attended Halloween parties.

A Facebook page is set up to honor the fallen officers. As of Monday night, it had more than 74,000 members. The page is named "In memory of the Lakewood officers."

Several police agencies are assisting the Lakewood Police Department in planning a memorial for the officers. The memorial is tentatively scheduled for next week.

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