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March 1, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Thousands pay tribute to slain ‘Trooper Tony’

Procession coming down 4th Avenue North on it's way to the ShoWare Center in Kent (Photo by Steve Ringman / The Seattle Times).

View more photos from the memorial service and procession.

Gov. Chris Gregoire called the life of slain State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu “a classic American story.” He was an immigrant who was proud to be an American and proud to serve the citizens of Washington as a trooper for 16 years.

Calling Radulescu “one of my own,” Gregoire said that he had once served on her security detail. “Tony gave his life, protecting you, protecting me, protecting every Washingtonian,” she said.

Gregoire was among the people who spoke during an emotional memorial service for Radulescu this afternoon at a packed ShoWare Center in Kent. Thousands of law enforcement officers from the U.S. and Canada were in the audience.

Radulescu, 44, was killed a week ago during a traffic stop in Kitsap County. He is the first trooper killed on duty since 1999.

State Patrol Capt. Steve Sutton, master of ceremonies, cited Radulescu’s “service with humility” as he gave the opening remarks.  He also outlined Radulescu’s life and 16 years with the State Patrol.

“He really believed that his work did matter,” said Sutton, who called Radulescu “a trooper’s trooper.”

A drawing of slain Washington State Patrol trooper Tony Radulescu is part of a large memorial service display Thursday at ShoWare Center in Kent (Photo by Ken Lambert / The Seattle Times).

The memorial service followed a procession of hundreds of police and fire vehicles that left Silverdale at 7:30 a.m. and made its way to the memorial service for the man known by many as simply “Trooper Tony.”

Radulescu spent his entire career with the State Patrol in Kitsap County. He was known for his big smile and even bigger heart, said colleagues and friends.

“He was the best of the best,”  Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer said last week. Boyer had worked with Radulescu when the 44-year-old first joined the State Patrol.

A native of Romania, Radulescu immigrated to the U.S. with his father as a teenager. He lived on the East Coast and then joined the Army where he served eight years, his relatives said. He came to the Pacific Northwest with the Army and stayed after he got out, they said.

Radulescu was fatally shot during a traffic stop on Highway 16 near Gorst shortly before 1 a.m. on Feb. 23.

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office says the man who shot him, felon Joshua Jearl Blake, fled after shooting Radulescu and then killed himself as a police SWAT team surrounded him.

Six people, including Blake’s ex-girlfriend and an 18-year-old passenger in his pickup, have been criminally charged with assisting Blake after Radulescu’s death.

View Trooper Tony Radulescu procession in a larger map

Comments | More in The Blotter | Topics: homicide, Kitsap County, memorial service

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