Bremerton community shocked, angered over recent string of violence
BREMERTON, Wash. -- In a Bremerton church basement packed to the brim Thursday night, about 100 people pored over a sketch of what could be a serial killer.
"Are we supposed to be looking for this man?" asked one woman, a mother of two, to a police lieutenant. "I'm worried about my two kids," she later added.
Police say they have questioned a person of interest in a string of homicides believed to be the work of a serial killer, but urged the public Thursday night to remain vigilant.
The serial killer case was one of several recent violent acts that came up for discussion at Thursday's public safety forum. The other two crimes -- an elementary school shooting Wednesday and the shooting death of a Washington State Patrol trooper Thursday -- have this city of about 38,000 wondering how so much violence could hit such a small, close-knit community.
"We've had such tragic things happen the last couple days in our community," said Tracy Hogg, a Bremerton resident, who left flowers for fallen Trooper Tony Radulescu outside the state patrol headquarters Thursday night. "We wanted to just come and pay our respects to the police department here. It's really hit close to home for people."
Bremerton Mayor Patty Lent, who attended Thursday night's meeting, said she recognized how unusual the past 48 hours had been for the city, but said police would remain focused on making public safety a priority.
"It is atypical. It just is a circumstance (where) you'd want to say, 'Is there a full moon? What's going on that has these things happening?"" Lent said. "We just need to know that the next day we'll wake up and something much better will happen."
Bremerton Police Lieutenant Peter Fisher said his department responded to both the school shooting and the trooper shooting cases, but wouldn't say how many officers were involved in either incident. He added that the FBI is now involved in the serial killer case.
"(It has been) terror for my kids," said a mother, who asked that only her first name, Regina, be used. "What's going to be here when they're older? Are they going to be able to invest in homes around here? Are they going to be safe in their own schools. I walked these streets when I was a teenager. I partied here. I grew up here. My kids, are they going to have that? I don't know."
Another public safety meeting will be held Friday night at Bremerton High School at 6 pm.