PORT ORCHARD, Wash. -- The man who deputies believe shot and killed a Washington State Patrol trooper has died from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Kitsap County Sheriff's Office.
"At 9:11 a.m., the Kitsap County Sheriff's SWAT team approached a house on Scofield Road in south Kitsap County, acting on a tip as to the possible location for the registered owner of the truck that we're looking for," said Kitsap County Sheriff's spokesman Ken Dickinson. "As they approached the house, they heard a single gunshot come from the area of the house. They approached and found a male subject with a self-inflicted gunshot wound injury."
The Washington State Patrol has identified the trooper who was shot and killed near Port Orchard early this morning as 44-year old Tony Radulescu, assigned to the state patrol office in Bremerton.
Radulescu had been with WSP for 16 years and He served his entire career in the patrol’s Bremerton district, working in several local communities.
“We’ve lost a co-worker, and the citizens of Washington have lost a humble public servant,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste. “Tony was the kind of person everyone wanted to be around, including me. I truly enjoyed working with him.”
The shooting occurred along Highway 16, about 10 miles southwest of Bremerton, around 1 a.m. WSP spokesman Monte Simpson said Radulescu stopped a dark green Ford F-350 and radioed in its license number.
When the trooper didn't check back with headquarters after several minutes, another officer was sent to the scene and found the wounded trooper.
"He got here at 1:14 a.m. - four minutes later - to find the injured trooper next to his vehicle," said Trooper Ken Dickinson. "He immediately called for medical help."
The officer was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital in Tacoma where he died.
A massive search was launched involving officers with several law enforcement agencies from around the region. After a couple of hours, officers found the dark green Ford F-350 involved in the incident abandoned in the Port Orchard area, a couple of miles away from the shooting location.
Troopers then tracked the pickup to a home, where the suspect was found inside with what appeared to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Batiste said the trooper had a son who also serves in the military. WSP has notified the trooper's son. They were waiting until they contacted all of the trooper's relatives out of state before they released his identity.
“He was a father and a peer to many of us who was dearly loved. An individual with a great personality. Served his country in the military and has been with this organization for about 16 years,” said Batiste.
Batiste said this is the 27th trooper killed on duty since 1929.