fallen heroes

Lt. Christopher McOmber (1964-2009)

Christopher Glenn McOmber, a Bellevue police lieutenant whose warm heart and outgoing personality attracted friends wherever he went, died Friday of cancer. He was 44.

He not only loved to tell stories, but was also the focus of many stories himself because of his adventurous spirit and gregarious nature, his family said.

“Chris was passionate and detail-oriented,” said Capt. Jim Jolliffe of the Bellevue Police Department, who said Lt. McOmber never forgot his roots as a street cop. “He knew when to lead, when to follow and when to just stay out of the way.”

At the time of his death, Lt. McOmber was commander of the department’s bomb squad and supervisor of the K-9 unit.

“He was just a natural cop,” said his father, James McOmber, who himself worked for a time as a sheriff’s deputy.

He was born in California and grew up in Bellevue, where even in elementary school he made friends with the adults he regularly encountered in his neighborhood — electrical workers, telephone repairmen and garbage collectors. His parents were often startled when people they didn’t know greeted him by name in the grocery store, his father said.

Lt. McOmber loved to work, and before he had turned 16 he had already had jobs delivering newspapers, washing cars at a commercial carwash, cleaning in a motel and washing dishes at night at a restaurant, his father said. He met his wife, Karla Olson, when he was working at Albertsons as a checker and she was working in the deli department.

He graduated from Bellevue’s Newport High School in 1982 and studied commercial diving at Highline Community College, where he received an associate degree. He worked on oil rigs in the Gulf of Mexico and did damage assessment on the Exxon Valdez, the oil tanker that ran aground in Alaska in 1989, while it was being repaired in a Los Angeles port.

In 1990, he joined the Los Angeles Police Department and worked some of the toughest precincts in South Central Los Angeles. He was on duty during the 1992 race riots sparked by the acquittal of Los Angeles police officers in the beating of motorist Rodney King.

He and his wife moved back to Bellevue shortly after they had twins. Lt. McOmber joined the Bellevue police force in 1994 and worked as an undercover narcotics officer, a field training officer and a member of the SWAT team. Earlier this year, he received the department’s commander’s award for outstanding service. “He was really happiest helping other people,” said his younger brother, Marty McOmber.

His wife said her husband loved to work with his hands, to remodel and build things, to hunt and fish, and to spend time with his children. “They were the joy of his life,” she said.

“His favorite subject was definitely his family and his kids,” brother Marty said. “He’d talk about them all the time. He was so proud of them.”

Lt. McOmber is survived by his wife, Karla, and their three children, Brendan, Britta and Karl, all of Bothell; his parents, James and Beverly McOmber, of Bellevue; and his brothers, Dennis McOmber, of Kent, and Marty, of Seattle.

A memorial service will be held at noon Thursday at Northlake Christian Church, 19029 North Road, Bothell

Taken from:
Long, Katherine. (2009). Christopher McOmber, Bellevue police lieutenant. The Seattle Times. Retrieved June 18, 2010, from http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/obituaries/2009430457_mcomberobit08m.html

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