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Fallen hero: a family mourns, a city gathers

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The family of Tacoma Police Officer Reginald "Jake" Gutierrez appreciates the flow of support from around the world following his murder last week. His funeral is set for Dec. 9 at the Tacoma Dome, where the public is welcome to further pay their respects.
“We would like to personally thank the City of Tacoma for the outpouring of love that has been shown for my brother…,” wrote Antoinette Gutierrez-Nevada in a statement. “We are humbled by the amount of support he has received from the community and the love we have received from his family in blue. It is quite evident that he has had a tremendous impact on the community. Although we cannot turn back the clock, I hope everyone can find comfort in the fact that my brother loved his job – he ran toward danger while others ran away. He was my hero before this happened and will be a hero forever in this community. With a heavy heart, my family would personally like to say thank you.”
Donations to the Officer Jake Gutierrez Memorial Fund can be made at any Wells Fargo location, through Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County or at the Tacoma Police Department. Donations of food for Emergency Food Network are being accepted at the Lakewood Police Department, which has extended its annual “Fallen Officer Food Drive” through next week and has already collected 7,767 pounds of food and $9,500.
Gutierrez, a 17-year veteran of the department, was killed in the line of duty on Nov. 30. He was 45 years old and left behind a fiancé and three children. Gutierrez was responding to a domestic violence call at a house along the 400 block of East 52nd Street. Bruce Randall Johnson II, 38, reportedly shot Gutierrez during the incident and then barricaded himself in the house while other officers rescued Gutierrez, who was rushed to Tacoma General Hospital for emergency surgery. He later died of his wounds. Johnson used his own children as human shields during an 11-hour standoff before a Pierce County Sheriff’s deputy shot him while he passed in front of an upstairs window. Johnson’s two children, 6 and 8, were not injured and were removed from the house. Johnson has been described as a troubled man, who had just been fired from his job at a downtown barbershop and experiencing mounting family troubles.
Tacomans responded to Gutierrez’s shooting death with two candlelight vigils in the Eastside neighborhood the 45-year-old officer patrolled. Both vigils, one at the Tacoma Police Substation where he worked and at nearby Sheridan Elementary last Thursday, drew hundreds of mourners. More mourners then lined city streets Friday morning to pay their respects when members of law enforcement agencies and fire departments motorcaded through the city to escort Gutierrez from the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office to the funeral home.
The final funeral procession to honor him will held before the funeral on Dec. 9, beginning at 10:30 a.m. The procession will travel from Joint Base Lewis-McChord along South Tacoma Way to the Tacoma Dome for the memorial service.

Want to help or need help?

  • Donations to the memorial service can be dropped off at any police station or mailed to Tacoma Police Department, 3701 S. Pine St., Tacoma Wash. 98409.
  • Donations to the Officer Jake Gutierrez Fund are being accepted at any Wells Fargo location and through Crime Stoppers of Tacoma/Pierce County at
  • Donations of food for Emergency Food Network are being accepted at the Lakewood Police Department, 9401 Lakewood Dr., which has extended its annual “Fallen Officer Food Drive” through next week.
  • The City of Tacoma has opened the Lighthouse Center, 5016 A St. through Dec. 9 for people to gather to discuss the death of Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez. Clergy and grief counselors will be available from 6-8 p.m. nightly to help facilitate conversations and provide resources for people at least through the end of the week.