More than a dozen community members and religious leaders turned out for a moment of blessing Wednesday for Tacoma police Officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez.
“From everything I’ve read about Officer Gutierrez, he sounds like everything you would want in a community policing officer,” said Karin Van Vlack of the Tahoma Unitarian Universalist Congregation.
“He was involved in the community,” Van Vlack said. “He showed up at events that he didn’t need to show up at.”
The blessing was held a few doors from where Gutierrez was killed Nov. 30 after he was shot while investigating a domestic dispute.
The man who shot Gutierrez, Bruce R. Johnson II, was killed by a SWAT team member after an 11-hour standoff.
The Rev. Dr. Eric D. Jackson was concerned for the shooter’s two children, who were held hostage that evening, and for the entire community.
“There were children involved, and there’s a community involved, and I think that’s all of us,” he said. “It affects so many people in so many ways.”
Sandy Windley of Associated Ministries echoed Jackson’s concerns about the children.
“I can’t imagine what’s burned into their memory,” Windley said.