Man suspected of shooting state trooper had long criminal record

Joshua Blake: Man suspected of shooting state trooper had promised to kill law officer if he was arrested again

Staff writersFebruary 24, 2012 

Joshua Blake didn’t like cops.

He had been arrested dozens of times in his 28 years and was convicted of resisting arrest at age 16. In October 2004, he kicked out two windows of a Washington State Patrol car after being arrested on suspicion of domestic violence, court records show.

He had threatened to kill a law enforcement officer if he was ever arrested again, according to the state Department of Corrections.

Blake also had a mean streak.

His grandmother told a judge in December 2004 she didn’t want Blake returning to her house because he was “too violent and dangerous,” an opinion shared by his father, court records show.

Before dawn Thursday, trooper Anthony Radulescu bore the brunt of Blake’s disdain for law enforcement and penchant for violence.

Authorities said Blake is suspected of shooting the 44-year-old trooper dead during a traffic stop in Kitsap County, sparking a manhunt that ended several hours later with Blake dying from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

A motorcade of police vehicles escorted the body of Radulescu on Thursday from St. Joseph Medical Center to the Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office, where an autopsy was planned.

As is routine, law enforcement officers will stay with their fallen colleague around the clock until he is buried. Funeral arrangements were pending.

What set Blake off was not known late Thursday.

Blake was the registered owner of the Ford F-350 pickup Radulescu stopped about 1 a.m. on state Route 16 near Gorst. It was unclear Thursday why Radulescu pulled Blake over.

The trooper radioed his location to dispatchers, as well as the license plate number of the pickup. When Radulescu didn’t respond to status requests a few minutes later, a Kitsap County sheriff’s deputy went to the scene and found the mortally wounded trooper on the ground near his car.

He was taken to St. Joseph Medical Center in Tacoma, where he was pronounced dead.

For hours after the shooting, law enforcement officers from throughout the region searched for the gunman and the truck.

A Bremerton police officer spotted the pickup abandoned on a long, wooded driveway about three miles from the shooting scene, trooper Russ Winger said. Authorities used a police dog to search the area surrounding the truck, but the driver was not found. Troopers told residents to stay inside and call 911 if they saw the gunman.

Shortly after 9 a.m., a tip was relayed to the SWAT team that the owner of the truck could be found at a home near Port Orchard.

“As our SWAT team made their approach, they heard a single gunshot coming from the house,” Kitsap County sheriff’s Sgt. Ken Dickinson said. “They found a male subject with a single gunshot wound.”

Blake was taken to Tacoma General Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Theresa Meyers, who lives next to Blake, said the rural property long had been known by neighbors as a place to avoid.

“They have a locked gate with the ‘Keep Out’ sign,” she said. “They have dogs and you hear rifles being fired. When we first moved in, there were people who would come in all day and night to that property, but then there was a drug bust at that property and it slowed down for a while.”

A relative of Blake’s was emotional when reached by telephone Thursday.

“We’re really sorry for the officer and the family,” said the woman, who declined to give her name. She also declined to discuss Blake.

Blake, a carpenter by trade, had been doing well and working with his father in the family business, called Blake Enterprise, until his father died last year, said Sean Jeu, who lives next door to Blake.

Blake’s arrest record dates to 1998, when as a 14-year-old he was convicted in Kitsap County Superior Court of possessing drug paraphernalia. A litany of criminal offenses followed – drug possession, DUI, theft, domestic-violence assault, malicious mischief.

Authorities said he also once assaulted the mother of one of his children.

He committed most of his crimes in Kitsap County, according to court records, but in 2006 he was arrested in Pierce County and convicted of unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine.

Last year, a friend of Blake contacted the Corrections Department to say he had made threats to harm or kill police if he was ever arrested again.

Staff writers Rob Carson and Adam Lynn, The Seattle Times and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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