End of Watch: 10/06/1978
Agency: Pierce County Sheriff’s Department
County: Pierce County
On Friday, October 6, 1978, Pierce County Sheriff’s Deputy Ken Moran was shot and killed during a gunfight after a bank robbery near Parkland in unincorporated Pierce County.
At about 1130 hours, Pierce County deputies responded to the Pacific National Bank, located at 11205 Pacific Avenue South in Parkland, for a bank robbery in-progress after three people wearing ski masks, one displaying a rifle, entered the branch demanding money. After leaving in a white van, the group met up with another suspect driving a Bobcat station wagon and abandoned the van. Washington State Patrol Trooper Richard Krook arrived in the area and spotted the described Bobcat station wagon with four suspects aboard. Almost immediately, Trooper Krook began to take on incoming fire from the suspect vehicle as Deputy Moran arrived in the area. The Bobcat suddenly pulled into a church parking lot where the suspects unsuccessfully tried to get into two other vehicles in the church parking lot. They ran across a pasture and into the brush as they continued to shoot at the officers.
During the gunfight, a woman stepped out of her front door and began walking toward Deputy Moran. The woman ignored Deputy Moran’s orders to get down, as she continued walking towards him wanting to know what was going on. Deputy Moran left his position of cover to get the woman out of harm’s way when he was shot in the chest, through and through.
After being shot, Deputy Moran was able to tell radio that shots were fired and he was down. He was transported to Lakewood General Hospital where he died.
Seven suspects, Debra Cartwright, Clifford Johnson, James Malone, Walter Mathis, Bryce Monds, Willie Moore and William Peyton were convicted of first degree murder and robbery. An eighth suspect, Albert Harmon, was convicted of second degree murder in a plea agreement. Only William Peyton remains incarcerated as of this date; all others have been released.
Deputy Moran was a U. S. Army veteran of the Vietnam War. He served with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department for two and a half years and is survived by a wife and two sons.