Slain guard hoped for career as pilot

Kurt Husted had a passion: racing motorcycles, and a plan: getting married and earning his pilot’s license to fly helicopters.

He also had a longtime job: working as a guard for Loomis armored cars.

Wearing No. 134, Husted, 39, competed for years as part of the Washington Motorcycle Road Racing Association.

“He was the epitome of a true club racer, those who live and love motorcycles to the point where they eat, breathe and sleep motorcycles,” said Jeff Wieand, race director for the association. “He was a very skilled racer.”

Husted recently started taking lessons to get his private – and eventually commercial – pilot’s license to fly helicopters. He wanted to move into commercial aviation and leave Loomis.

He’d gotten the money to pay for the lessons and ratings but never got the chance to fulfill his ambition.

Husted was killed Tuesday while making his rounds at the Lakewood Wal-Mart. He was headed out of the store when he was shot in the head and his money bag stolen. Police have arrested three men and a woman in connection with the killing.

Husted’s death saddened his family and friends. The family released a statement Wednesday, remembering him and asking for privacy to grieve.

“We mourn deeply the loss of Kurt Husted,” the family said. “He was a wonderful, caring person whom we loved deeply and will miss forever.”

Husted graduated in 1988 from Lincoln High School in Tacoma and was engaged to be married.

For the past 16 years, Husted worked for Loomis, where he “was everybody’s favorite,” general manager Dan Rushing said.

“It was a terrible thing, a senseless act you can’t say anything about because you can’t understand it,” Rushing said.

Husted’s passion was motorcycles. He’d talk motorcycles with neighbors and bank employees while working for Loomis.

For years, he raced 250cc motorcycles in Washington. This year he’d been racing on the Oregon circuit. Other racers liked to go up against Husted because he was a respectful rider, Wieand said.

“You are inches apart,” he said. “You do depend on fellow riders for your safety.”

Fellow racers, posting comments about Husted on Internet racing forums, said he was easy to spot: He was always smiling. They remembered him as a great competitor and someone willing to help other racers and staff members at races.

“Many times he volunteered to work a corner when we were short-staffed so that the rest of racers could go out and have fun,” one person wrote on an online message board. “He always greeted people with a smile and was quick to help out fellow racers when they needed help.

“His family was at most if not all of his race weekends; a genuinely nice group of people.”

Wieand plans to have 134 seconds of silence at the start of the riders’ meeting June 14, the association’s next racing event. There is also talk of having motorcyclists ride parade laps before the race to honor Husted and raise money for his family.

“It’s going to be a real somber weekend,” Wieand said. “Our club is a big family.”

About six months ago, with an eye toward a new career, Husted started taking flying lessons at Airwork LLC, a flight school in Auburn.

“He was kind of tired of what he was doing now,” said Airwork’s general manager, Nick DuBay, who called Husted “really one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet.”

Husted started flying once a week and was hooked. In recent weeks, he got the financing to qualify to be a commercial helicopter pilot.

“He’d really gotten serious about it in the past month or so,” DuBay said.

Wednesday, Julie Williams and her son stopped by a house in South Tacoma where Husted used to live. She left a card and a bouquet of flowers on the porch, not knowing Husted had sold the house five months ago.

She remembered Husted, who most recently lived in Lakewood, as the smiling Loomis armored car man who served the KeyBank in Lakewood where she worked years ago. She hadn’t seen him in 10 years but that didn’t matter.

“You remember your Loomis guys,” she said.

And Husted, she recalled, “was just happy all the time. And he loved his motorcycles.”

When Williams heard a Loomis car driver had been killed Tuesday in Lakewood, her “heart just sank,” she said.

“I thought please let it be someone I don’t know,” Williams said.

Money ties banks and armored cars together, so workers in both know the dangers, she said.

“You always kept an eye out for each other,” Williams said. “Anything can happen out there.”

Stacey Mulick: 253-597-8268