grieves Everett Police officer's line-of-duty death
Michael Whitney photo
People laid tributes Sunday, March 27 at a memorial created for Officer Rocha outside the north Everett police precinct.
This story is updated from the print version with details that became public Tuesday, March 29.
EVERETT — Everett Police Officer Dan Rocha, 41, was killed by the suspect Friday, March 25 in a Starbucks parking lot at 10th and Broadway near Everett Community College.
Rocha had made contact in response to a suspicious-person call. Authorities say the suspect, Richard James Rotter, shot multiple times, striking Rocha. Rotter then ran over Rocha with a Mini Cooper and prompted a police chase that ended about 2½ miles south with a three-vehicle crash at 35th and Rucker. He was arrested there and has remained in custody on probable cause charges since.
A judge on Monday after press time set $5 million bail for Rotter.
Rocha was a family man, with two sons. As Badge #1470, he started with the department in 2017.
The memorial service for Officer Dan Rocha will be held on Monday, April 4 at 1 p.m. at Angel of the Winds Arena located at 2000 Hewitt Ave. in Everett. The service will be open to the public. The Everett Police Department says further details will be released as they become available.
Streams of mourners visited a public memorial at the corner of Wetmore and Wall. The hood of a police SUV positioned there overflowed with bouquets. Mylar balloons, hand-made signs, teddy bears, a Silvertips hockey stick and lit candles stood. One sign from a child hoped Rocha’s body made it to heaven.
People could write condolences on boards and take a blue ribbon at a nearby table, with filled boards moved to be laid against the Ford Police Interceptor SUV. People brought flags, one being a large “thin blue line” American flag with with Rocha’s name and badge number sewn in.
People lingered. Families gave quiet prayers. Police officers from regional jurisdictions paid respect.
Another memorial with flowers stands at the street corner of 10th and Broadway.
“Our community has lost a hero,” Police Chief Dan Templeman said in a statement. Rocha “was well-liked, highly respected by his co-workers and truly loved serving our residents.”
“There are no words to make sense of this tragedy or to ease the pain for Officer Rocha’s grieving family,” Templeman said. “Officer Rocha was a loving husband and father and a role model for his two sons.”
Mayor Cassie Franklin said she was devastated, calling his death a “senseless loss” in a statement.
Everett Community College gave appreciation and condolences to Rocha in a statement. The college went under a short lockdown during the incident.
“At the time of his death, he was working to prevent danger near the doorsteps of two of our student housing buildings with hundreds of EvCC students and employees inside,” EvCC’s statement says. “We are grateful for his protection, and we stand with Officer Rocha’s wife, two sons, extended family and his fellow officers in their grief.”
Rocha’s death is the Everett Police Department’s first line-of-duty loss since 1999, when Officer Brian DiBucci fell off the U.S. 2 trestle during a late-night call.
Rotter, 50, is a felon with a history of running from law enforcement, including incidents in the Tri-Cities where he used force to flee. He is being held in Snohomish County Jail on probable cause charges of murdering a police officer as well unlawful possession of a firearm.
Rotter had a warrant. Rotter shot Rocha in response to the officer making contact.
An official memorial fund to support Officer Rocha’s family and memorial costs is now available at www.everettwa.gov/2847/Remembering-Officer-Rocha
All branches of Coastal Community Bank are accepting donations of checks and cash to the fund. Make checks payable to “VSS-Dan Rocha Memorial”
Friday afternoon’s line-of-duty death happened the same day the law enforcement community mourned Pierce County sheriff’s deputy Dom Calata, who died in a hospital after being shot by a felon during a SWAT operation in Spanaway where gunfire was exchanged.
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