Prisoners donating money to Lakewood families
Note: On November 29, 2009, a gunman shot and killed four police officers as they sat eating at a restaurant in Lakewood, Washington.
from Eric Wilkinson's report on KING-5 News:
It's a cold and unforgiving place - a place you'd expect to find nothing but bitterness and hatred toward police. But at the Monroe State Reformatory, the heartless killings of four Lakewood police officers are softening even the most hardened criminals.
"The first thing that went through my mind was, 'oh no, not again'," said triple murderer Tony Wheat, who killed three gas station clerks during robberies 44 years ago and who is serving a life sentence at Monroe.
He's part of a prison organization called "Concerned Lifers" where those serving life terms try to mentor young convicts and keep them from reoffending. Wheat says the Lakewood killings shocked many inside the reformatory's walls.
"We thought, maybe it's about time we start showing some appreciation and concerns, and doing what little we can and show that even though we are removed from society, we are a part of it," he said.
Wheat and a small group of convicts, most of whom will never set foot outside the prison's walls, are now organizing a fund for the families of the Lakewood officers.
Lifer Herb Blumer earns less than 50 cents an hour making furniture for state offices. He wants to give all he can to the cause, realizing in a case like this it really is the thought that counts.
"I felt that this donation might be a message to let them know that we share their grief and we share their pain," he said.
Read the whole report.