May 23, 2012
NEW — 8 a.m. May 23, 2012
Police involved in a shootout at Clark Elementary School feared the gunman could escape from the campus and shoot bystanders in surrounding neighborhoods, and resorted to lethal force to eliminate the threat, officers involved in the shooting testified at a court hearing Tuesday.
Police fatally shot Ronald W. Ficker, 51, in late September after the rural Maple Valley man abandoned a rental car at a downtown intersection and, carrying rifles and ammunition, set off in the direction of school campuses and, along the way, brandished firearms to passers-by. Moments later, at about 11:30 a.m. Sept. 24, Ficker shot at bystanders and police officers on the Clark Elementary campus.
The tense moments after Ficker reached the school grounds formed the basis for the Tuesday testimony at a King County-led inquest into the actions of officers involved in the shootout — Laura Asbell, Brian Horn, Christian Muñoz and Jesse Petersen.
May 22, 2012
The Issaquah Press took home awards for its coverage of the Issaquah gunman at the Northwest Excellence in Journalism Awards held by the Society of Professional Journalists.
The regional chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists announced its 2011 awards in a ceremony May 19.
The annual presentation honors the best in journalism, covering a region that includes Alaska, Oregon, Washington, Idaho and Montana.
Reporters Warren Kagarise and Christina Lords and Managing Editor Kathleen R. Merrill earned second place in the spot news reporting category for their coverage of the gunman who prompted Issaquah residents to seek cover after a shootout with police at Clark Elementary School in September.
Christina Lords also nabbed third place in the news photography category for her photo capturing the police response to the Issaquah gunman.
May 22, 2012
King County authorities started to examine the actions of Issaquah police officers involved in a deadly September 2011 shootout at Clark Elementary School as a prosecutor-led inquest opened May 21.
The officers shot and killed Ronald W. Ficker, 51, after the rural Maple Valley man abandoned a rental car at a downtown Issaquah intersection and, brandishing rifles and carrying ammunition, set off in the direction of school campuses.
May 22, 2012
NEW — 8 a.m. May 22, 2012
Just after 11 on a September morning, as Ronald W. Ficker meandered on a fateful trek from a downtown Issaquah intersection to Clark Elementary School, Leslie Olerich stared down the barrel of Ficker’s rifle.
“He looked right at us, looked down the barrel and he smiled,” Olerich said Monday at a court hearing about the Sept. 24 incident.
Issaquah police fatally shot Ficker, 51, after the rural Maple Valley man abandoned a rental car at a downtown intersection and, carrying rifles and ammunition, set off in the direction of school campuses and, along the way, brandished firearms to passers-by.
Olerich testified Monday at a King County-led inquest into the actions of police officers involved in the shootout — Laura Asbell, Brian Horn, Christian Muñoz and Jesse Petersen.
May 15, 2012
Inquest into police shootout starts May 21
The rough outlines resemble doodles more than a far-fetched blueprint, and the instructions on the page defy explanation.
In hand-scrawled notes about a manmade island scattered among the sketches, the creator urges, “Start building Atlantis.”
The creator later stuffed the notes, sketches and more than $23,000 in Swiss francs into a safe deposit box at the Bank of America branch in Issaquah.
The stack of documents contained instructions for the reader.
“If I get hurt, must take this to police.”
The sentence outlined the future. The man behind the notes, Ronald W. Ficker, 51, died in a police shootout on the Clark Elementary School campus Sept. 24.
May 15, 2012
Issaquah School District officials are wasting no time when it comes to putting their recently approved $219 million bond into action.
The school board reviewed a preliminary schedule of projects and timeline for school construction and other district upgrades at its May 9 meeting. Some projects could begin as soon as July and other smaller projects extend through the end of 2019.
“Somebody has to be first and somebody has to be last,” said Jacob Kuper, chief operations officer for the district.
Phase 2 construction of Liberty High School and Phase 2 at Maywood Middle School are first in line with finishes projected by the end of 2013. At the caboose of the tentative timeline of the larger projects is the reconstruction of Sunny Hills Elementary School, which wouldn’t finish until December 2018.
May 15, 2012
Tragedy yields changed perspectives
Memories from the afternoon remain fresh months after the last gunshots echoed across the Clark Elementary School campus, even as the incident recedes deeper into the past.
Downtown Issaquah transformed into a crime scene Sept. 24, as a gunman menaced residents and later died in a police shootout.
The incident receded into memory for most people not long afterward. Still, the investigation continued and throughout the process, the events from Sept. 24 remained close to me.
A stack of documents from the King County Sheriff’s Office investigation sits on my desk. Photos from the incident still flicker across my computer screen. I speak to sources about the investigation at least once each week.
The inquest into the incident starts May 21 at the King County Courthouse. I plan to report from the official inquiry into the event, too.
May 8, 2012
In a solemn ceremony not far from the state Capitol, Gov. Chris Gregoire slipped a Law Enforcement Medal of Honor around the necks of police officers involved in a deadly September 2011 shootout at Clark Elementary School.
May 1, 2012
City and Issaquah School District leaders pledged coordination and cooperation as the city outlines a bold plan to add thousands of residences in the decades ahead.
Discussion about the Central Issaquah Plan — a proposal to transform more than 900 acres near Interstate 90 and state Route 900 — and possible changes to the school district, such as redrawing boundaries for schools to accommodate population shifts, dominated the annual joint meeting April 24.
City Council and Issaquah School Board members, plus Mayor Ava Frisinger and Superintendent Steve Rasmussen and other officials, gathered at Mandarin Garden a week after school district voters approved a $219 million bond to fuel a school construction boom. The planned projects include major changes for schools in downtown Issaquah.
The groups, seated beneath red lanterns and arranged around lazy Susans, sipped tea and nibbled on fried rice and roast pork as discussion unfolded about long-term development plans. (The city hosted the meal and spent $311.24 on food and beverages.)
“Both organizations have gone from fast-growing organizations to more stable, mature organizations with different sets of issues,” Council President Tola Marts said. “So, now the challenge is how do we manage the remaining growth that we have?”
April 30, 2012
NEW — 1:30 p.m. April 30, 2012
Community leaders, including the Issaquah Police Department, plan to host a discussion about drug use among children Wednesday.
The discussion, titled “Drug Use and Our Kids: The Neurological, Developmental and Social Realities Associated with Youth Drug Use and Abuse,” is scheduled for 7-8:30 p.m. at Clark Elementary School library, 500 Second Ave. S.E.
The speakers include Jerry Blackburn, a chemical dependency professional and faculty member in the Chemical Dependency Counseling program at Bellevue College, and Karin Weihe, the Issaquah Police Department’s student resource officer for the school district.
Participants can learn more about the prevalence of alcohol and drug use by local youths, and the effects such use has on their learning, development and success.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.