PARKLAND — - Hundreds of police and other customers lined up early for the reopening of the Washington state coffee shop where four officers were shot and killed two weeks ago.
PARKLAND — At 8:14 a.m. on the dot today, Forza Coffee shop in Lakewood turned on its open sign for the first time since four officers were killed there two weeks ago.
Lakewood Police Chief Bret Farrar emerged from inside, after purchasing the first cup of coffee, and along with Forza Coffee Company co-founder Brad Carpenter, thanked each and every one of the hundreds of people who braved the cold to help reclaim the coffee shop from the violence that occurred there.
Lakewood Police Sgt. Mark Renninger and Officers Ronald Owens, Tina Griswold and Greg Richards died Nov. 29 after they were ambushed at 8:14 a.m. in the shop by Maurice Clemmons, who was later shot and killed by Seattle police.
This morning, the crowd, which grew throughout the morning, included neighbors, friends, and representatives from law enforcement agencies as far away as Bellingham. Inside the cafe, about a half-dozen Lakewood officers sat at the table where their four colleagues were ambushed by Clemmons.
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“We’re reclaiming this as a place for the community and for law enforcement,” said Lakewood Police Sergeant Mark Eakes.
Chief Farrar said he was overwhelmed by the amount of support, saying it helped bring home why he and his officers choose to work at a dangerous job.
“We’re out here to support the community, and the community supports us,” he said.
The shop remained largely the same as it was before the shootings. Some of the furniture had been taken for evidence, and replaced, but otherwise the only big change was a large poster honoring the four fallen officers. Plans call for placing a plaque honoring them in all 22 Forza franchises, which are mostly in Pierce County.
Carpenter said Forza staff didn’t even start talking about reopening until after the memorial for the four officers last Tuesday, but then, with strong support from Lakewood police and the officers’ families, decided to go forward.
“It’s our responsibility to honor these guys,” he said.