Former Lakewood Officer Recalls Outpouring Of Support After Officer Slayings

Nov 21, 2012

This Thanksgiving weekend brings back memories of one of the most horrific police shootings in Washington history. This will be the third anniversary since four Lakewood police officers were gunned down in a coffee shop. Correspondent Austin Jenkins spoke with one of the first officers to arrive at the scene of the café shootings.

The Lakewood Police Department Fallen Officer Memorial, which honors the victims of the November 29, 2009 Lakewood police officer shooting.
Credit Photo by Marques Hunter / Wikimedia Commons

On the Sunday after Thanksgiving 2009, Chris Sorrells turned down an invitation to grab coffee with his day shift crew. He was minutes away when the call came in. Officers in a shootout at a Café Forza. Sorrells arrived to find his friend and the drummer in his rock band, Greg Richards, dead in the doorway of the café. Three more officers were dead inside. Sorrells says in that moment he felt “conquered” and “destroyed.” In the ensuing days he struggled to reconcile the hatred he felt inside himself with the tremendous outpouring of support from the community.

Sorrells: “I’ve never experienced something so horrific, but at the same time experienced something so wonderful. And it was really hard to process that. I don’t think people will ever be able to understand that.”

Sorrells says one of his therapies has been to write songs about the experience of losing his fellow officers. Earlier this year, Sorrells resigned from the Lakewood Police Department and moved out of state. He says he won’t go back to police work.

Copyright 2012 Northwest Public Radio