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Two deputies lauded for courage, kindness

Kent Mundell has "never met a stranger," his stepmother said Tuesday.

He’s the kind of guy who immediately puts people at ease, quickly becomes a loyal friend, and believes in helping when and where he can, Dorene Mundell said of her stepson, who lives in Spanaway.

Nick Hausner doesn’t wait to be asked what needs doing.

When he was finished pressure-washing his roof, he took his equipment and did the job on the homes of two disabled neighbors. Occasionally, Dave Steelsmith hears the lawn mower running outside his Eatonville home and looks out the window to see Hausner cutting Steelsmith’s grass.

Mundell and Hausner, both severely wounded while answering a domestic violence call Monday night, are more than Pierce County sheriff’s deputies.

They’re giving souls who cement family relationships with love and understanding and serve their communities both in and out of uniform, relatives and neighbors say.

Mundell, a 44-year-old Rogers High School graduate, is a married father of two, a 16-year-old daughter and a 10-year-old son. He’s been a sheriff’s deputy for nearly 10 years, having joined the force on Jan. 10, 2000.

Hausner, 43, is a sergeant with two decades as a deputy. He and wife Melanie have two children, a 14-year-old daughter and a 12-year-old son.

Deputies stood solemn guard Tuesday evening at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where Mundell remained in critical condition. Hausner was listed in serious condition at Madigan Army Medical Center and is expected to survive.

Both were shot when a gunman identified as 35-year-old David Edward Crable opened fire as they tried resolve a complaint about an unwanted person in a Tanwax Lake-area home near Eatonville, sheriff’s spokesman Ed Troyer said.

Crable was shot and killed; Mundell was hit multiple times in the exchange of gunfire and suffered life-threatening injuries, Troyer said. Hausner was shot once, Troyer said.

Family and friends called both men courageous and kind Tuesday. Here’s more about them:

DEPUTY KENT MUNDELL

He is named for his father, Walter Kent Mundell, but the deputy is known as Kent.

He’s a snow- and water-skier, a snowboarder, a pilot, a diver, a boater, a fisherman.

He is an attentive husband and a nurturing father who spends hours teaching and playing with his kids, Dorene Mundell said from her home in Texas.

She and Walter Mundell shared favorite photographs of Kent with wife Lisa smiling on a snowy ski slope; Kent in a flight suit, right thumb up, in front of a small plane; Kent with a bemused grin, hands casually stuffed in jeans pockets; Kent in his deputy uniform, wife beside him, American flag behind them.

Kent “grew up all over the world,” moving frequently in a family where his dad worked for the federal government, Dorene Mundell said.

He was an adult when she joined the family.

“When he met my grown children, it was as if he’d know them forever,” Dorene Mundell said. “It was immediate hugs. My grandson calls him Uncle Kent.”

When he joined the Sheriff’s Department, she was fearful because she knew the work could be dangerous.

In 10 years, he’s worked as a patrol deputy in the South Hill and the Mountain Detachment, as a member of air operations, with the clandestine lab team and as a safety department representative, according to a fact sheet supplied by Troyer.

That’s Mundell on paper. In person, he’s the regular at Barney’s Mini Mart near Eatonville, where he often teases co-manager Donna Harris about having chicken gizzards but not chicken livers on the hot-food menu.

Every time he walked into the store on Meridian Avenue East he’d shout to Harris, “Got my livers yet?” she said.

“He’s a good man,” Dorene Mundell said. “I think the people there (in Pierce County) need to count their blessings that they have such an honorable man to serve the public.”

SGT. NICHOLAS HAUSNER

As a bicycle patrol deputy in Lakewood 17 years ago, Nick Hausner knew kids in danger of ganghood needed something to steer them away.

His and deputy Bill Cassio’s answer was a program called “Jumping Out,” pairing gang wannabes with local businesses to help the kids learn skills while completing school.

“We come into contact with these kids every day,” Hausner told The News Tribune in a 1993 interview.

“They say, ‘You want me to get out, but you don’t give me any options,’” he said. “We decided to give them some options.”

Since joining the Sheriff’s Department on June 5, 1989, he has worked as a patrol deputy in Lakewood, in South Hill and with the Mountain detachment, Troyer said. He was promoted to sergeant in 2005, working in that capacity across the county.

He’s been a computer instructor, a gang task force member, a Community Academy facilitator and a member of a strategic planning leadership team.

And like other lawmen, he has faced peril and horrific crime scenes.

Hausner was reportedly one of the deputies who responded in November 2007 when newlyweds Brian and Beverly Mauck of Graham were slain by a Massachusetts parolee in their home. Northwest true-crime author Ann Rule briefly mentions this in her 2008 book “Mortal Danger and other True Cases: Ann Rule’s Crime Files: Vol. 13,” according to an excerpt published on Google Books.

Superiors awarded Hausner the Sheriff’s Department Medal of Merit in 1994 and 2002 for outstanding work. He’s earned five departmental Impact Awards.

Out of uniform, he makes a huge impact on his neighborhood. The Hausner family frequently donates to the local food bank, said friend and neighbor Larry Baker.

Some nights, Nick Hausner calls late to let the Bakers, who live kitty-corner across the street, know they’ve left their garage door up. Other nights, he walks across he street and closes it for them, Baker said.

When neighbor Kim Steelsmith said she’d like to get a deputy’s view of the area, Hausner “took her on an official ride so she got to go on the prowl,” Dave Steelsmith said.

“The whole family is really super nice,” Baker said.

Deputy Hausner, he added, “makes us feel safe around here.”

Kris Sherman: 253-226-6718

kris.sherman@thenewstribune.com

Staff writer Mike Archbold contributed to this report.

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