Timeline: A look back at the life of David Brame

October 18, 2004 

The timeline marks key moments in the life and career of David Brame, as well as reactions and revelations from city leaders in the days since the shootings ...


July 28, 1958: David Allen Brame is born in Tacoma to Beverly and Eugene Brame.

June 13, 1976: Graduates from Lincoln High School.

1978: Completes associate of arts and science degree from Tacoma Community College.

June to November 1978: Works in the stockroom at Fred Meyer in Tacoma.

June 23, 1978: At 19, marries Ann Vigil, 18.

September-December 1979: Works in the personnel department of Good Samaritan Hospital in Puyallup through an internship program at the University of Puget Sound.

May 1980: Graduates from UPS with a bachelor of arts degree with a major in public administration.

Sept. 30, 1981: As part of routine application process, psychologist Steven Sutherland examines Brame and recommends Tacoma police not hire him as a officer.

Nov. 17, 1981: A second psychologist, James Shaw, deems Brame a "marginal police officer applicant" with a "poor prognosis" for developing into an above-average officer.

Nov. 23, 1981: Chief R.A. Amundsen approves Brame's hiring.

Dec. 4, 1981: Brame joins the Tacoma Police Department and spends three months in training.

March 8, 1982-Aug. 27, 1985: Works as a patrol officer.

Aug. 28, 1985-Aug. 27, 1989: Works in the school liaison unit, spending summers on general assignment.

Dec. 3, 1987: Brame and Ann Vigil divorce.

1988: Investigated by police Internal Affairs department after woman says Brame raped her. Police Chief Ray Fjetland finds complaint is "not sustained," meaning insufficient evidence exists to prove or disprove the complaint. Investigators said they believed the woman, but it was an informal opinion and not part of the actual ruling.

Dec. 12, 1988: Fjetland sends letter to alleged rape victim explaining his finding. Fjetland writes that he has ordered Brame to undergo an evaluation by a department psychologist.

Aug. 28, 1989-Jan. 20, 1991: Brame works in the Crime Prevention Unit.

Jan. 21, 1991-Oct. 9, 1994: Promoted to sergeant and works in the Patrol Division.

Aug. 3, 1991: At 33, marries Crystal DeEtte Judson, 23.

Oct. 10, 1994-March 27, 1995: Works in the Training Section.

Dec. 24, 1994: Daughter Haley is born.

March 28, 1995-May 5, 1996: Promoted to lieutenant and works in Tacoma's south side.

May 6, 1996-April 20, 1997: Works in Internal Affairs.

Sept. 15, 1996: Visits Gig Harbor police station and files an informational report describing a heated argument with Crystal Brame. It was one of two visits that month regarding problems with his wife. He makes no mention of physical abuse.

1996: Talks with friends and colleagues, including then-interim Chief Ken Monner and fellow officer Bill Meeks, about being abused by his wife. Meeks videotapes scratches and bruises on Brame.

April 21, 1997: Spends five months on special assignment in the chief's office.

Sept. 29, 1997: Attends the FBI National Academy for three months.

Nov. 4, 1997: Son David Jr. is born.

Dec. 15, 1997-Jan. 2, 1999: Serves as a captain in the Criminal Investigations Division under Chief James Hairston.

July 13, 1998: Brame's mother photographs bruises on his left arm, an injury Brame says Crystal inflicted. He later decides the bruising is bad enough to warrant a doctor visit.

Jan. 4, 1999-Jan. 13, 2002: Serves as assistant chief.

Dec. 20, 1999: Officer Joseph Kirby files a civil lawsuit against the city, claiming workplace discrimination. City Manager Ray Corpuz, Brame and other officers in the police department are named as defendants.

Jan. 1, 2000: The News Tribune names Brame one of 20 "South Sound future leaders." Bill Baarsma, then a former city councilman, calls him an "outstanding candidate for chief in the future."

Jan. 18, 2001: During a deposition for the Kirby lawsuit, police Capt. Charles Meinema alludes to the 1988 date-rape complaint, saying Brame once was investigated for a potentially criminal allegation.

Feb. 23, 2001: Tacoma assistant city attorney Shelley Kerslake writes a memorandum to the court describing the 1988 incident as "consensual sex." She says efforts to discover information about the rape allegation are meant to "harass, annoy and embarrass" Brame. She calls them irrelevant to the Kirby lawsuit.

March 8, 2001: Retired police officer David Olsen, who worked for Internal Affairs in 1988 and 1989, gives a deposition in the Kirby lawsuit saying he believed Brame raped the woman.

March 14, 2001: Kirby's lawsuit returns to Pierce County Superior Court after a brief transfer to federal court. Records regarding the Brame rape allegation are sealed.

July 11, 2001: Hairston announces his retirement as chief. The search for replacement begins.

Oct. 2, 2001: Brame deposed in Kirby lawsuit.

Oct. 31, 2001: The News Tribune reports 33 applicants for chief position.

Nov. 22, 2001: Field narrowed to four candidates, including Brame.

Nov. 27, 2001: Arizona chief's candidate removed from consideration, leaving Brame and two others.

Dec. 4, 2001: New Mexico candidate removed from consideration, leaving Brame and Patrick Stephens, deputy chief of police in Cleveland.

Dec. 28, 2001: Corpuz selects Brame as Tacoma's 46th police chief.

Jan. 14, 2002: Brame begins new job after being sworn in by city clerk; appoints Catherine Woodard assistant chief.

Jan. 17, 2001: Public swearing-in ceremony at Tacoma Dome.

November 2002: Chokes Crystal and threatens to snap her neck, she later alleges in divorce documents. Brame denies the allegation.

Feb. 15, 2003: Points his police-issue handgun at Crystal Brame and says, "Accidents happen," she alleges in divorce papers. Brame denies it.

Feb. 21, 2003: Crystal Brame and the couple's two children move out of the family home and begin staying with her parents.

Feb. 24, 2003: Crystal Brame files for divorce.

April 11, 2003: Brame, accompanied by Woodard, goes to his in-laws' home in Gig Harbor to pick up his children. Three hours later, Crystal Brame calls 911 to report that Brame and Woodard entered the gated community "under false pretenses."

• An unspecified number of anonymous police officers request an Internal Affairs investigation over the incident. They threaten to go to the news media if the matter is ignored. The police department won't say whether an investigation was started.

April 22, 2003: Tacoma bartender and bowling alley manager John Hathaway reports on Brame divorce case in his online publication, The New Takhoman, after anonymous source leaves copy of court papers in his newspaper box.

April 25, 2003: The Seattle Post-Intelligencer publishes article on Brame divorce, including allegations of domestic violence made by both sides, setting off flurry of media reports.

• Tacoma's top human resources officials recommend taking away Brame's gun and badge. The advice isn't followed. Corpuz tells The News Tribune he won't investigate because it's a private matter.

• Brame returns from four-day trip to Las Vegas for a labor-management conference and picks up his children. The three spend the night at his Tacoma apartment.

April 26, 2003: The News Tribune publishes article in which Corpuz and Mayor Bill Baarsma say city won't investigate domestic violence claims in the Brame divorce.

• Brame takes children to Gig Harbor for his son's "Lil' Dragons" karate class. The 30-minute class ends about 9:30 a.m.

• 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Crystal Brame attends a class in Tacoma called "What Children of Divorce Really Need." Before the class, she stops by the family home in Gig Harbor to pick up some items.

• 2:17 p.m. David Brame and the children get his car washed at the Great Car Care Center in Gig Harbor.

• 2:27 p.m. Brame and the children visit a drugstore where he buys light bulbs, coloring books and toys and candy for the children.

• 2:47 p.m. Brame and the children stop at nearby store for groceries.

• 2:54 p.m. Crystal Brame leaves Tacoma after staying after the divorce class to visit with others about the session. She calls her mother from her cell phone and discusses the class as she drives back to Gig Harbor.

• 3:02 p.m. Brame and the children leave the grocery store and cross Highway 16 in search of a bath toy at the Harbor Plaza shopping center in Gig Harbor.

• 3:07 p.m. Crystal Brame cuts off her phone conversation with her mother, moments after spotting car she believes her husband is driving.

• 3:10 p.m. He shoots Crystal in the head, then shoots himself.

• 5:43 p.m. Brame, 44, dies at St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma.

• Woodard becomes acting chief. She is the first woman to lead the department.

April 30: Woodard places officer Patrick Frantz, president of police union Local 6, on paid administrative leave pending an investigation into a threatening e-mail he allegedly sent New Takhoman publisher Hathaway.

May 1: Corpuz places Woodard on paid administrative leave, announces investigation of "possible criminal misconduct."

• Assistant chief Don Ramsdell named interim chief.

• Crystal Brame, still in critical condition, has moved her hand and toes, her lawyer says.

May 3: During an emergency meeting, the City Council approves investigation of Brame's career by the Washington Association of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs. Kitsap County Prosecutor Russ Hauge will assist.

• City Council decides not to place Corpuz on leave.

• 4:40 p.m. Crystal Brame, 35, dies at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

May 5: Corpuz steps aside, saying he will take paid administrative leave from manager job until the Brame investigation concludes.

May 12: Corpuz announces he will retire after the Brame investigation is complete.

• The FBI and U.S. Attorney's Office join the Brame investigation.

May 20: City Council decides to waive attorney-client privilege, which could allow the city's attorneys to talk with investigators and the media about the Brame case. Action won't take effect for seven days and city employees can seek their own legal protection to keep from talking.

• The City Council creates a 21-member Citizens Advisory Panel to suggest resources for investigators, communicate with citizens on audit.

May 23: The News Tribune obtains e-mails written in February and April by assistant city attorney Kerslake, saying Brame was preoccupied by his divorce and couldn't focus on his job.

May 24: The City of Tacoma puts its investigation on hold so it won't interfere with a criminal inquiry by state and federal investigators.

• Pierce County sheriff's officials say they should have investigated the 1988 rape allegation but were never told about it.

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