Friends, family and members of the law enforcement community gathered this past Friday in Bremerton for the unveiling of a memorial to slain Washington State Patrol Trooper Tony Radulescu.
The morning was marked by wind, rain and falling tears, but also smiles from those gathered who fondly remembered a trooper who was known for his smile.
“There’s no way we’ll ever be able to repay Trooper Radulescu,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste. But, he added, “This memorial will help us each and every day remember the great works of a great man.”
Trooper Tony, as he was affectionately known, was shot and killed during an early morning traffic stop Feb. 23, 2012, in Gorst.
The granite memorial, which includes a photo of Radulescu and his famous smile, sits next to the Washington State Patrol’s District 8 headquarters on Werner Road in Bremerton. It also features a stone path and landscaping.
Born in Romania in 1967, Radulescu immigrated to the United States with his father when he was 14. He grew up in New York, on Brooklyn’s Bushwick Avenue, with two brothers and a younger sister.
After joining the Army and serving in the Gulf War, Radulescu began a decorated career for the Washington State Patrol, stationed in Bremerton. His heavy accent, his proficiency in different languages, including Romanian, Korean and Spanish, and his ever present smile left a lasting impression on his comrades throughout his 16 year career. A resident of Port Orchard, he attended Christian Life Center Church on Mitchell Road.
Radulescu was 44 at the time of his death and the 27th state trooper to be killed in the line of duty. He was shot during the traffic stop by Joshua Blake, a 28-year-old felon, who later shot himself as law enforcement closed in on him at a South Kitsap home where he was hiding.
Blake’s ex-girlfriend, a passenger in Blake’s vehicle at the time of the shooting and four others were eventually convicted and sentenced for helping him evade police following Radulescu’s murder.
Megan Mollet, 18 at the time of the shooting, was in the front seat when Blake told her to turn away before he shot Radulescu.
She and Blake then fled to a Sidney Road home in Port Orchard. She eventually lied to police, saying she did not know Blake and not been with him during the shooting. She was subsequently sentenced to 12 months in jail.
Jessi Leigh Foster, 32, who was Blake’s ex-girlfriend and the mother of his child, was sentenced to six months in jail after pleading guilty to rendering criminal assistance to him after the shooting.