Sheriff: Authorities 'confident' that ex-con Blake killed trooper

Sheriff: Authorities 'confident' that ex-con Blake killed trooper »Play Video
Joshua Blake
PORT ORCHARD, Wash. - Authorities are confident that Joshua Blake, a 28-year-old ex-con who killed himself Thursday, was the person who earlier murdered a state trooper in cold blood, the Kitsap County sheriff said Friday.

"We are confident that he (Blake) was responsible for the tragic shooting," Kitsap County Sheriff Steve Boyer said in a Friday morning press conference.

Trooper Tony Radulescu was shot and killed at about 1 a.m. Thursday when he pulled Blake over for a routine traffic stop in the small Kitsap County town of Gorst.

Blake fled the scene in his pickup truck after the shooting, then ditched the truck in thick brush near Sidney Road. He later holed up in a rundown mobile home a few miles away off Mullenix Road.

Hours later, Blake shot himself as officers, acting on a tip, surrounded the mobile home. Blake was taken to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Boyer said investigators had recovered the .40 caliber handgun that Blake had used to shoot himself. The weapon is being tested to see if it is the same one he used to shoot Radulescu.

In addition, Boyer confirmed that one arrest has been made in connection with the case.

On Thursday evening, the 32-year-old mother of Blake's young daughter was arrested and booked into jail on suspicion of rendering criminal assistance in the first degree. Her bail was set at $500,000.

The sheriff's office didn't immediately release the woman's name, but jail and court records identify her as Jessi Leigh Foster, 32.

Shortly after the trooper's death, Blake called Foster and told her he did something bad and needed help to escape, sheriff's Sgt. Ken Dickinson told the Friday news conference.

She met him at the mobile home a few miles away, where she pressed him on what he had done, he said, and even after Blake acknowledged that he "shot a cop," she continued trying to help.

"She was actively trying to find a way for him to get out of the area," Dickinson said.

 Trooper Tony Radulescu

Foster was still in the mobile home when a SWAT team closed in on the pair and Blake slipped off into the woods and shot himself, court records say.

Records show that she and Blake had tussled in court over custody of their young child. In court papers he wrote that she had a severe drinking problem and was unstable. In response, a friend of hers, Carole Gonzalez, wrote that Foster was a loving mother and that Blake was never around the child because he had been incarcerated.

According to Kitsap County court records, Blake was convicted for assaulting his then-pregnant girlfriend in 2004 as he drove down a street under the influence of alcohol. His girlfriend at the time was not Foster. After being arrested, he kicked out the window of a patrol car.

Later that year, after the baby was born, he choked the woman and punched her in the face repeatedly because she asked him to watch the child while she took a nap.

In 2008, a Port Orchard officer tried to pull him over for a minor traffic infraction. He sped off at 60 mph, crashed into another police car and then ran off. As officers pursued him, he returned to his car and sped away again - only to later be caught when a sheriff's office dog team chased him up a tree.

Department of Corrections spokesman Chad Lewis said Blake was a handful both for prison officials and for community corrections officers who tried to supervise him. He completed a 2½-year prison term in early 2010, and last spring he served two months for failing to check in with his community corrections officer. His term of supervision ended last August, Lewis said.

Trooper Radulescu, a Romanian immigrant and 16-year veteran of the patrol, had the respect of his peers and was popular in his community, friends and co-workers said.

He served his entire career in the area and spoke five languages - a huge asset in investigating car theft rings with Eastern European ties, said Boyer, who knew him well.

"He was cautious. He practiced good officer safety," the sheriff said, his eyes misting as he spoke Thursday. "Sometimes the odds are just against you."

Radulescu was a military veteran with a son in the area who is a soldier, Patrol Chief John Batiste said at an early morning news conference at St. Joseph Medical Center. He was well-known and popular in the community where he often spoke in schools, Batiste said.

Boyer said Radulescu would be remembered for his warmth.

"He could write somebody a ticket and they'd say 'thank you,' " Boyer said.