Report tracks rise in drug-induced deaths, decline in traffic fatalities

November 20, 2012

Investigators from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office probed 22 deaths in and just outside Issaquah last year, including the suspect’s death in a fatal shootout at Clark Elementary School.

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Report: Investigators probed 22 Issaquah deaths in 2011

November 15, 2012

NEW — 1 p.m. Nov. 15, 2012

Investigators from the King County Medical Examiner’s Office probed 22 deaths in Issaquah last year, including the suspect’s death in a fatal shootout at Clark Elementary School.

The information comes from the agency’s annual report on suspicious, sudden, unexpected and violent deaths in King County. In 2011, King County experienced the fewest homicides and traffic deaths in more than a decade, even as drug-induced deaths increased.

The medical examiner’s office assumed jurisdiction last year in more than 2,000 deaths — 926 natural deaths, 594 accidental deaths, 265 suicides, 135 traffic accident deaths, 54 homicides and 62 deaths due to undetermined causes.

The tally in Issaquah included 11 accidental deaths, seven suicides, two traffic accident deaths, one homicide and one death due to undetermined causes.

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The Issaquah Press earns statewide journalism, social media honors

October 2, 2012

Bolstered by minute-by-minute coverage from a downtown standoff last year, The Issaquah Press earned top honors for reporting and use of social media — plus awards for photography, design and advertising — at a statewide journalism conference Sept. 28.

Overall, the newspaper and staff members received 25 awards in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The staff earned news, photography and social media awards for coverage during and after a gunman menaced downtown Issaquah on Sept. 24, 2011.

Reporter Warren Kagarise earned first place for Best Use of Social Media for documenting the event on Facebook and Twitter.

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The Issaquah Press earns statewide journalism, social media honors

October 1, 2012

NEW — 10 a.m. Oct. 1, 2012

Bolstered by minute-by-minute coverage from a downtown standoff last year, The Issaquah Press earned top honors for reporting and use of social media — plus awards for photography, design and advertising — at a statewide journalism conference Sept. 28.

Overall, the newspaper and staff members received 25 awards in the Washington Newspaper Publishers Association’s Better Newspaper Contest.

The staff earned news, photography and social media awards for coverage during and after a gunman menaced downtown Issaquah on Sept. 24, 2011.

Reporter Warren Kagarise earned first place for Best Use of Social Media for documenting the event on Facebook and Twitter.

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Off the Press

September 25, 2012

What do criminals think before they act?

Kathleen Merrill
Press managing editor

Thoughts of gunman Ronald Ficker have roamed around in my head since he walked through downtown Issaquah, randomly shooting at people before getting into a gunfight with police on Sept. 24, 2011.

The incident ended with him being shot to death. And I haven’t been able to get that out of my head.

While he was driving around our fair city that morning, thinking about God knows what, I was spending time outside with my German shepherd, and then heading out for a cruise in my car on a sunny day. While he was dying on an elementary school campus, I was chatting with a friend while shopping.

I can’t get that out of my head either.

For some time that morning he drove around our city, even running out of gas and having contact with a police officer on Interstate 90, before he ran out of gas yet again downtown.

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Dispatchers demonstrate poise under pressure amid shootout

September 18, 2012

Dominique Hill, Felicia Moore and Janelle Knight (from left) were on duty as Issaquah Police Department communications specialists when gunman Ronald W. Ficker set off across downtown Issaquah on Sept. 24, 2011. By Greg Farrar

The callers punching 911 into cellphones on Sept. 24, 2011, a bright Saturday darkened as a gunman stalked across downtown Issaquah, heard a calm voice amid the chaos.

In the hours after the gunman set across from a downtown intersection to Clark Elementary School, communications specialists at the Issaquah Police Department fielded a tsunami of calls.

In the tumult, a trio of dispatchers — including a recent addition to the team — attempted to assuage panicked citizens and advise the officers at the scene.

The voices citizens and officers heard on the line came from Dominique Hill, Janelle Knight and Felicia Moore.

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Issaquah police train for active shooter incidents

September 4, 2012

The worst-case scenario for most police agencies is a mass shooting — and Issaquah officers spend time preparing for the unthinkable.

The recent spate of such incidents — a Colorado movie theater and a Sikh temple in Wisconsin — called attention to the so-called active shooter training police undergo.

“Active shooter incidents are kind of rare, but they’re very traumatic when they happen, so we try to get as much training and expertise in that field as we can, along with many other things they train for,” Issaquah Police Chief Ayers said in a recent interview. “A lot of those things that they train for in active shooting can be used in their regular work — safety issues, how to react and those types of things.”

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Neighbors protest proposed firearms home business

August 28, 2012

Concerns about safety and traffic led downtown Issaquah residents to join forces to stop the city from approving a permit for a home-based firearms business.

The municipal Development Services Department is considering a proposal from Michael Marinos, a longtime Issaquah resident, to open the business in the Olde Town neighborhood south of East Sunset Way.

Marinos created Bigg Dogg Firearms to offer federally licensed firearms transfers to customers purchasing weapons online. Customers could then stop at Marinos’ home-based business to pick up the firearms.

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U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert honors Issaquah police officers

July 17, 2012

U.S. Rep. Dave Reichert recognized the Issaquah Police Department last month to honor the officers involved in a deadly shootout late last year.

Dave Reichert

Cpl. Christian Muñoz, officers Laura Asbell, Jesse Petersen, Brian Horn, Tom Griffith and Sgt. Chris Wilson earned recognition from Reichert, a former King County sheriff and Auburn Republican.

Officers fatally shot Ronald W. Ficker just before noon Sept. 24 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.

In a King County-mandated inquest held in May, jurors determined Asbell, Horn, Muñoz and Petersen faced a life-threatening situation and used proper procedures to stop Ficker on the Clark Elementary School campus.

On May 4, Asbell, Horn, Muñoz and Petersen also earned the Law Enforcement Medal of Honor, the top law enforcement honor in Washington.

Reichert also recognized the officers from the House floor May 10.

“On that day, as on every day, law enforcement officers saved lives calmly, swiftly and selflessly,” he said then.

Jurors rule in favor of police officers involved in deadly shootout

May 29, 2012

Issaquah police officer Brian Horn indicates locations on a map for a King County inquest jury May 22, as District Court Judge David Steiner observes. By Greg Farrar

Jurors deliberated only 19 minutes before determining Issaquah police officers faced a life-threatening scenario and properly used lethal force to stop a rifle-toting man on the Clark Elementary School campus last year.

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