Fallen Pierce County deputy’s me­mo­rial van­dal­ized

The News Tribune - - Front Page - BY NATHAN HYUN nathanael.hyun @the­new­stri­bune.com

It has been over two years since Pierce County sher­iff’s deputy Daniel McCart­ney was killed while re­spond­ing to a home in­va­sion rob­bery in Fred­er­ick­son, but his me­mory has not been for­got­ten by a fam­ily who lives nearby.

They tend a me­mo­rial con­sist­ing of hand­made signs, a flag and lighted can­dles not far from where he died.

Kaolin Tru­jillo and her fam­ily, who main­tain the me­mo­rial, found it van­dal­ized on the morn­ing of June 27.

“One morn­ing I woke up and I wanted to go down to re­place the can­dles that burnt out, and me and my son Gabe walked down there and we no­ticed that some­one had kicked down the cross.

You can tell that it didn’t get blown over. Some­one did this on pur­pose,” Tru­jillo said.

Tru­jillo found the cross bro­ken on the ground, the fallen of­fi­cer’s flag thrown in the bushes and ripped apart, and smashed can­dles, ac­cord­ing to a Face­book post by Tru­jillo on June 29.

Tru­jillo was not go­ing to let the van­dal­ism stop her fam­ily from do­ing what they have been for the past year.

“We gath­ered the flag, we gath­ered all the glass pieces and we took them back to the house. And we put every­thing to­gether again, and we made the flag stur­dier and all of that,” said Tru­jillo.

She went back the same day to fix up the me­mo­rial like it was be­fore.

Now, she’s hop­ing for sup­port from the com­mu­nity. She said any­one is wel­come to stop by the me­mo­rial and drop some­thing off to re­mem­ber McCart­ney.

“I want to make it look even more beau­ti­ful than be­fore and show my kid­dos that com­mu­nity al­ways comes to­gether,” said Tru­jillo in her Face­book post.

The idea to take re­spon­si­bil­ity in tak­ing care of the me­mo­rial started a year ago when the Tru­jillo fam­ily bought the house next to the one where McCart­ney was re­spond­ing the night he died, Jan. 7, 2018.

Ac­cord­ing to Tru­jillo, her fam­ily has helped keep the me­mo­rial clean and in good re­pair.

It was her 6-year-old son Gabe who in­flu­enced her, she said. Gabe has al­ways been in­ter­ested in po­lice and wants to be­come one when he be­comes older, Tru­jillo said.

He was cu­ri­ous about the me­mo­rial.

“When we first moved in, my kids al­ways asked and mainly my son, Gabe, ‘What was that? What’s that cross for?’”, said Tru­jillo. “I ex­plained to him that we bought the house next door to peo­ple that were do­ing not so good things and those peo­ple took a po­lice of­fi­cer’s life.”

Tru­jillo told Gabe and the rest of his sib­lings that the pur­pose of the me­mo­rial was for re­mem­ber­ing McCart­ney. She wanted to in­still in them sac­ri­fices po­lice of­fi­cers make in or­der to keep peo­ple safe.

Ever since then, Gabe and his mom have been keep­ing the me­mo­rial clean and lit up.

“We go down ev­ery other night, and we light the can­dles right be­fore bed. We say a prayer, and we try to clean it up as much as we can,” said Tru­jillo. “What we’ve done over the year, we made the me­mo­rial big­ger so that peo­ple can go put things on there and drop stuff off.”

Other memo­ri­als have been erected for McCart­ney. One year af­ter his death, the Pierce County Sher­iff’s Depart­ment un­veiled a me­mo­rial that stands at the re­named “Deputy Daniel McCart

ney Firearms Train­ing Cen­ter” in Roy.

In a note to the sher­iff’s depart­ment ear­lier this year, Tru­jillo asked the depart­ment if it could visit the me­mo­rial. She wants to sur­prise Gabe and hopes the depart­ment can be there so her fam­ily can thank the depart­ment for all the sac­ri­fice they do ev­ery­day.

Ed Troyer, sher­iff’s spokesman, said in a state­ment to The News Tri­bune that he hopes to per­son­ally thank the Tru­jillo fam­ily for tak­ing care of the me­mo­rial even af­ter it got van­dal­ized.

Troyer hopes to come with other deputies in or­der to present gifts to Gabe and thank him for hon­or­ing McCart­ney.

Troyer said deputy Kevin Roberts is get­ting a new flag, and he and other mem­bers of the depart­ment will ar­rive with other gifts, in­clud­ing a McCart­ney coin and a Core Val­ues Coin.

Troyer said he hopes to do so by the end of the month.

“The im­por­tance is I’m try­ing to teach my chil­dren that it’s good to give to your com­mu­nity and it’s good to give some­thing and you don’t get any­thing in re­turn,” said Tru­jillo.

KAOLIN TRU­JILLO Cour­tesy

Gabe Tru­jillo stands next to a me­mo­rial hon­or­ing Pierce County sher­iff’s deputy Daniel McCart­ney. The me­mo­rial has been main­tained by the Tru­jillo fam­ily since they moved into the house next door to where McCart­ney was fa­tally shot.

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