Daughter of deputy killed on duty gets wedding day surprise

SPANAWAY, Wash. -- It's been nearly six years since Pierce County Sheriff's Deputy Kent Mundell lost his life in the line of duty. He was responding to a domestic violence attack when he was shot. Mundell died seven days later.

His daughter got married over the weekend, and what happened at the wedding has now gone viral.

There's no argument about it. It's among the most important days of a woman's life. It's also among the proudest any parent could wish for.

As Kirsten Mundell reminisced with KOMO about her dad and the day six years ago his life was taken in the line of duty, she also talked about the difficulty of planning her wedding day.

"Any wedding is a big deal, and not having my dad there was a lot harder for all of us," she said.

Kristen knew she had to make it special. She knew that her father had to have a seat at the wedding right there in the front row.

"It's hard realizing it's been almost six years and he's not going to be there and that chair," she said. "It's his chair and he's there, but he's not. It meant a lot knowing that we were able to save a spot for him and knowing that I felt him there I knew he was there."

The back of her wedding dress was another tribute. It had the thin blue line that symbolizes so much in the law enforcement community.

It was, however, what Kirsten did not plan that no one there will forget -- the father-daughter dance.

Detective Don Jones, who walked Kristen down the aisle, started it. And then one after another, members of law enforcement and Kent's close friends followed.

"We're sitting there dancing and then all of a sudden someone taps me on the shoulder and says, 'Can I cut in?' and I was shocked. I didn't know how to react, how to respond," Kirsten said. "He said, 'there's a whole line of us,' and right as he said that is when the next officer cut in and I just broke down."

Even the tough law enforcement officers were moved by the dance.

"There wasn't a dry eye in the room. I mean, the photographer was crying at that point. Everybody was crying, it was very moving," Jones said.

It was moving not just because of this young woman and the support she was getting, but also because the loss still cuts deep.

"That crushed everybody who knew Kent. Not just his family, but everybody that he knew and even people he met once or twice," said Jones.

The people who knew him for years leave the rest of us with a lesson: Life continues, but in some ways it doesn't.

"People need to know that their family's lives go on but they're still affected by it every day," Kristen said. "I know they're always there for me if I need them. I never thought they'd just show up. It was the best wedding surprise ever."
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