Suspect in trooper's death shoots, kills himself

Suspect in trooper's death shoots, kills himself »Play Video
Officers investigate outside a mobile home where a man shot himself during the search for a state trooper's killer.
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - The man considered a suspect in the deadly shooting of a state trooper has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

The man, identified as Joshua J. Blake, 28, shot himself Thursday morning as police closed in one him. He was rushed to Tacoma General Hospital, where he later died.

Officers had closed in on a mobile home, located near Mullenix Ridge Elementary School, where Blake was reported to be holed up. As police surrounded the home, at about 9:10 a.m., they heard a single gunshot from inside the home or just behind it. Officers rushed in and found Blake with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Records show Blake was an ex-con with a history of drugs, assaulting the mother of one of his children, and kicking out the window of a police car. He had previously threatened to kill a law enforcement officer and was categorized as a high-risk to commit a violent crime.

Blake was also was the registered owner of a pickup truck that Trooper Tony Radulescu pulled over just before he was shot to death at around 1 a.m. Thursday.

Radulescu, 44, had stopped the pickup on Highway 16 near the small Kitsap County town of Gorst and radioed the location and license plate number, said Trooper Russ Winger.

When Radulescu didn't respond to status checks, a Kitsap County sheriff's deputy went to the scene and found the wounded trooper. He was taken St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where he was declared dead.

About three hours later, officers found the pickup abandoned about two miles from the shooting scene in thick brush off Sidney Road, but no one was inside.

 Trooper Tony Radulescu


A manhunt was launched and people in the area were advised to stay inside their homes. Several people were questioned who live in the area where the truck was found, and K-9 police dogs tried to pick up a scent but could not.

Officers later went to the mobile home near Mullenix Ridge Elementary after receiving a tip that the suspect in the trooper's shooting might be there. Blake shot himself as a SWAT team members surrounded the house.

Slain trooper Radulescu had 16 years of service with the Washington State Patrol, working out of Bremerton, officials said. He was well-respected among his colleagues and loved working with schoolchildren in the WSP's outreach program.

 Joshua Blake


A military veteran, Radulescu has an adult son who is now serving with the U.S. military forces.

Dozens of state troopers gathered at St. Joseph Medical Center and a procession of police vehicles escorted Radulescu's body from the hospital to the Pierce County Medical Examiner's Office.

State Patrol Chief John Batiste made a televised statement later Thursday morning: "As you can imagine, it's a very sad day for the State Patrol; it's a very sad day for law enforcement in this great state of ours and across this country," he said.

Department of Corrections officials said Blake had previously served a 2½-year prison sentence for fourth-degree assault, malicious mischief, drugs and violation of a protection order, and was released in March 2010. He was then placed on community supervision, which ended in August 2011.

While serving most of his sentence at Walla Walla, Blake had multiple infractions, leading him to be placed in the intensive management unit, where he spent 23 hours a day in his cell.

Based on his criminal history, Blake was categorized as a high-risk to commit a violent crime and made threats to kill members of law enforcement, corrections officials say.

During his community supervision, he was often noncompliant, and was placed in confinement twice at the Kitsap County jail.

But because Blake was no longer under community supervision at the time of Thursday's shooting, the Department of Corrections says their case with him is over and they do not plan any kind of internal investigation. While there won't be an internal investigation into the case, police are still investigating the shooting. On Thursday evening, the 32-year-old mother of Blake's young daughter was arrested and booked into jail on charges of rendering criminal assistance. Her bail was set at $500,000. It's unclear what role police believe the woman played in the shooting or its aftermath.