My Two Cents: Brame shootings a tragedy on many levels

As I write this column on Monday morning, Crystal Brame clings to life, after her husband, Tacoma Police Chief David Brame, shot her in the head on Saturday afternoon before turning the gun on himself. Chief Brame, as we all know by now, died later that day.

I first heard about the shootings on the radio in my car while driving home.
My first thought was that while I didn’t really know Chief Brame that well, I had seen him at several City Council study sessions and even covered his swearing in as Tacoma’s top cop in January 2002.

Like I said, I wasn’t in any way close to Chief Brame. Still, I found it difficult to reconcile in my own mind the articulate, confident and apparently well-liked man chosen to lead the Tacoma Police Department with the man who shot his wife in the head and then took his own life.

My next thoughts were of the victims of this horrific act, Crystal Brame, 35, and their two children, Haley Brame, 8, and David Brame, Jr., 5, who may have witnessed the incident.

I recalled Chief Brame’s swearing in ceremony 15 months ago, where he and his family were so happy.

During his speech that day, Brame credited his family with much of his success and called them his “support network.”

Crystal Brame pinned the police chief’s badge on her husband after he had been sworn in.

Chief Brame’s children sat with him throughout the ceremony, visibly proud of their dad.

David Brame, Jr., was particularly excited about his dad becoming chief of police, and delighted the crowd by saying “Thank you” into the microphone just after his father received a plaque from the Tacoma Police Department.

And now he, along with his sister, is without a father, and their mother is in critical condition at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Once again, I find the juxtaposition of the images of that day with Chief Brame’s fatal actions on Saturday difficult to fathom.

Still, whatever I’m feeling pales in comparison to the pain being endured by the family, friends, city officials and law enforcement members directly affected by this tragedy.