Today is a sad day in Washington State. A man who devotes his life to protecting the public was shot and killed in a shameless, cowardly act.
Trooper Tony Radulescu, 44, was doing his job early this morning when a man he’d stopped shot him and left him to die by the side of Highway 16 near Gorst.
The suspect has been identified as Josh Blake, 28. Blake has been in and out of prison for drug charges including manufacturing of meth. At the time of the shooting he was on probation.
WSP Chief John Batiste says the fallen trooper was” well-known and loved in the community.”
After the shooting, Blake disappeared, only to be found hours later at a house in Port Orchard. When SWAT officers approached, Blake shot himself and later died.
During the search, I interviewed one of Radulescu’s fellow troopers Russ Winger.
“It’s difficult. He was a personal friend of mine, a personal co-worker, he worked closely with me…I’ve know this person for 14-15 years,” Winger said. “I’ve been too busy to really think about the tragedy of it right now. It’s going to sink in later.”
Radulescu was a family man, military veteran and always known to have a smile on his face.
I also spoke with Sean Jeu, who said he is a long time friend of Blake’s, said he had a history of drug abuse and always behaved erratically. He said Blake’s recent turn of bad luck may have caused him to snap.
According to Jeu, Blake couldn’t kick a long-running addiction to meth and often carried a handgun. Blake was on probation for drug charges and recently fell on tough times after being laid off his construction job.
Batiste said Radulescu is the 27th WSP trooper killed in the line of duty since 1929.
Click the link for a list of troopers killed in the line of duty. http://bit.ly/z4DBxK