Posted: 4:25 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 23, 2012

'The citizens of Washington have lost a humble public servant'

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Trooper Tony Radulescu
Trooper Tony Radulescu


Josh Blake photo
Dept. of Corrections
Josh Blake

GORST, Wash. —

Investigators still don't know why a Port Orchard man shot and killed a Washington State Patrol trooper early Thursday morning and then took his own life later in the day.


The trooper, 44-year-old Tony Radulescu, had pulled over a green truck  on State Route 16 near Anderson Hill Road Southwest around 1 a.m. and radioed dispatch to notify them of the stop, the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office said.


The State Patrol did not hear back from Radulescu for 15 minutes, so a Kitsap County deputy went to check on him, and found him slumped over the wheel of his patrol car, shot.  Police said the suspect, Joshua Blake, had fled the scene in the truck.


Radulescu was transported to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where he died of his injuries. A police procession escorted the ambulance from the hospital to the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office.


Blake shot himself when police approached him at his home later in the day and died several hours later, leaving his motives a mystery.


"Every little detail we can find that's going to put that person back to 12:57 (a.m., the time of the shooting) with Trooper Radulescu on the freeway, we're going to look for," Sheriff's Office spokesman Sgt. Ken Dickinson said.



Police found Blake's vehicle, a dark green 1999 Ford F350, at about 4:30 a.m. in some bushes in the 4200 block of Sidney Road in Port Orchard.


Radulescu's death set off a manhunt that culminated with police closing in on Blake's house on Southeast Scofield Road in a secluded, heavily wooded, rural area of Port Orchard. As officers approached, they heard a single gunshot.  They found Blake inside soon thereafter, suffering from an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound.


Blake was taken to Tacoma General Hospital "to make sure every possible chance to resuscitate him [was] made by doctors," KIRO 7 reporter Richard Thompson said.  Blake died at about 1:30 p.m., sources told reporter Kevin McCarty.


Video from Chopper 7 showed multiple buildings, trailers, shacks and vehicles in various states of decay.  Debris was scattered around the property.


A neighbor said she did not know the people who lived on the property, but said she knew there were "various living situations" there. 


Another neighbor, Theresa Meyers, said she had just returned home when she "heard the SWAT team guys saying, ‘Get down! Get Down! Get down now!’ and there were shots fired. It was very surreal."


As Meyers was watching KIRO 7's live coverage and speaking  by phone with KIRO 7 news  anchors live,  she said saw the green truck associated with the trooper's shooting at the property before. Meyers said there had been "drug busts"  and other police activity there in the past.  She described the residents as "odd" and "paranoid," and knew that several people were living there on and off.


Chopper 7 video showed numerous officers at the scene and a SWAT vehicle.


Remembering Trooper Tony Radulescu


Trooper Radulescu, assigned to the state patrol office in Bremerton, was popular among coworkers and was well-known in the community for visits and presentations he did at local schools.


“We’ve lost a co-worker, and the citizens of Washington have lost a humble public servant,” said WSP Chief John R. Batiste. “Tony was the kind of person everyone wanted to be around, including me. I truly enjoyed working with him.”


Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer had close ties to Trooper Radulescu.


"Never saw him without a smile on his face," he told KIRO 7 Eyewitness News reporter Kevin McCarty.


Funeral arrangements are pending. 


Batiste said Radulescu is the 27th officer lost since 1921.


Batiste said he had a “real sense of humor,” was highly thought of in the community and was in high demand for talks at local schools.


The Kitsap County Sheriff's Office  is the lead agency investigating the shooting.

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