Slain trooper remembered as 'humble public servant'

PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - The Washington State Patrol trooper killed during a traffic stop early Thursday was a well-respected colleague who loved working with schoolchildren, friends and co-workers said.

Tony Radulescu, 44, was shot after he pulled over a driver in a Ford pickup near the small Kitsap County town of Gorst at around 1 a.m. Thursday.

When Radulescu didn't respond to status checks, a Kitsap County sheriff's deputy went to the scene and found the wounded trooper. He was taken St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where he was declared dead.

A possible suspect in the trooper's shooting later was found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound at a mobile home in Kitsap County.

A few hours after the shooting, dozens of state troopers gathered at St. Joseph Medical Center and a procession of police vehicles escorted Radulescu's body from the hospital to the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office.

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

"As you can imagine, it's a very sad day for the State Patrol; it's a very sad day for law enforcement in this great state of ours and across this country," Batiste said.

A U.S. military veteran, Radulescu had served 16 years with the State Patrol. He began in December 1995 and was commissioned as a trooper in July 1996, after completing his training. He served his entire career in the patrol's Bremerton district, working in several local communities.

Radulescu was popular outside the patrol as well. He was well-known in the community for the many visits and presentations he did at local schools. "The entire community is hurting today," Batiste said.

The community came together Thursday evening at Gig Harbor's Skansie Brothers Park to hold a vigil for the slain trooper.

Funeral arrangements are pending. Several members of Trooper Radulescu's family live out of state, and the patrol will defer to their wishes regarding a service.

He is survived by a son, who is now serving on active duty in the U.S. Army.