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Thousands show respect to fallen Everett Police Officer Dan Rocha

EVERETT, Wash., April 5, 2022 – The city of Everett was in mourning Monday as thousands gathered into Angel of the Winds Arena to memorialize Officer Dan Rocha who gave the ultimate sacrifice protecting the Everett community. The 41-year-old officer, father and husband was tragically gunned down, March 25, serving in the line of duty.

“Many people described their interactions with Dan using words like fantastic, amazing, the best, and professional. But this comes as no surprise to those of us who were privileged enough to have worked alongside Dan,” Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said.

“Everett is grieving. This tragedy has shaken our community to its core, and I have been trying to find the words to articulate the pain that we’re all experiencing…and I’m failing,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said during Officer Rocha’s memorial service.

Preceding Officer Rocha’s memorial service was a procession of officers who marched from the Everett Mall toward the downtown venue as public onlookers lining Everett Mall Way waved both U.S. and thin blue line flags.

The hurst carrying Officer Rocha’s body drove under a giant garrison flag suspended by two fire truck ladders at Rockefeller and Hewett avenues.

Thousands of attendees were touched as the sound from bagpipers reverberated through the arena while officers from as far as New York wore mourning badges on their arms.

“As a parent is my first reaction, when I heard about Dan, was that he was in the wrong place at the wrong time. Upon further reflection I knew that Dan would say he was in the perfect place at the perfect time to do what he does: serve and protect, and make a perfect world for his kids,” Mike Henry, Dan’s father, said. “My heart is crushed. But I’m a proud dad.”

Independent Journalist Brandi Kruse introduced speakers, that included Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin, Everett Police Chief Templeman, Chaplain Fred Zoeller, Officer Rocha’s father Mike Henry and his brother-in-law Matt Nichola.

“He was such an amazing guy,” an Everett resident attending Rocha’s memorial said. “He was always very kind. That’s the only thing I can say – kindness just shone through. I’ve seen him confront the bad guys and he spoke to them the same he spoke to me. He spoke to everyone with kindness and dignity. He treated everyone with respect.”

Concluding the memorial, Officer Dan Rocha’s name was added to the Everett flag, in the form of a gold ribbon, joining three other ribbons that symbolize former Everett Police Officer on-duty deaths. Officer Rocha’s name will also be added to the state officer’s memorial in Olympia and to the national memorial next year.

Officer Rocha’s murder

Dan Rocha, 41, was shot and killed, March 25, following gunfire in a Starbucks parking lot across the street from the Everett Community College campus.

According to an eyewitness, gunshots were heard at around 2:15pm. The witness then saw a uniformed officer on the ground in the parking lot of the Starbucks as the gunman sped away, running over the body of the officer.

After a two-and-a-half-mile vehicle pursuit, the suspect was arrested, Richard James Rotter, 50, who was taken into custody at 35th and Rucker in Everett.

Rotter was on probation and had outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest as well as a long criminal history dating back to 2004.

On March 28, Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui set bail at $5 million for the alleged cop killer. He is facing a life sentence for the charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, 1st degree murder and 2nd degree murder.

Officer Rocha’s death was the third on-duty death of a Washington State Police Officer of 2022.

Remembering Dan Rocha

dan rocha

Daniel (Dan) Rocha was born July 6, 1980, in Santa Barbara, California, and grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Officer Rocha graduated from Durango High School in 1998 and attended college at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  After college, Rocha worked at the MGM Grand Hotels, where he met his wife, and love of his life, Kelli. The two began dating in 2002 and were married in 2005, welcoming their first son, Thomas, into their lives five years later. Their second son, Harrison, joined their family in 2012. To those who knew Dan Rocha best, his family meant the world to him.

Rocha and Kelli moved to Everett in 2011 where he landed a job as Assistant Manager at the Casino Road Fred Meyer. Everett Chief Templeman said during his remarks at Rocha’s memorial that he was described as a “reasonable, and understanding” manager and “genuinely happy to be at work.”

In 2017, Rocha’s drive to protect and serve his community led him to change jobs to public service as a parking enforcement officer for the Everett Police Department. Shortly after his arrival, Everett PD officers noticed his “outstanding public relations skills” and quickly recruited him to apply for a position as a fully commissioned officer.

One year later, Rocha was hired as a police officer and was first assigned to patrol the same neighborhood that he had previously worked in while employed at Fred Meyer. While Officer Rocha was able to quickly reconnect with the neighborhood he had previously served, it was his goal to return to north Everett and patrol the streets that he once lived in after his family had arrived in 2011. 

In 2020, Officer Rocha landed his dream assignment, according to the eulogy, as a dayshift patrol officer in north Everett. This is where Dan faithfully served his community until his passing on March 25, 2022.

Officer Rocha leaves behind his wife Kelli, sons Thomas and Harrison, fathers Charlie Rocha and Mike Lee, sisters Morgen Henry and Rae Ann Hismiogullari, sister-in-law Maggy Palos and brother-in-law Matt Nicholas.

“Though words cannot express our loss, we are truly thankful to you all for your kindness and support during this tragic time. Dan truly cared about his community and worked every day to make it a safe and caring place or all of its residents,” his family said.

On the corner of 3002 Wetmore Avenue in Everett, officer Dan Rocha’s police cruiser is adorned with flowers. Many residents came to pay their respects throughout the day to share stories of Rocha’s life and legacy with a similar theme: Officer Rocha loved his community.

Behind the Badge and Dan Rocha family fund

Shannon Sessions
Shannon Sessions

Lynnwood City Councilwoman Shannon Sessions serves with the Behind The Badge Foundation as its Line of Duty Death Response Team member assisting with local in-the-line-of-duty funerals.

“Grieving is something we do alone, but mourning is something we do together,” Lynnwood City Councilwoman Shannon Sessions, and former Lynnwood Police Public Information Officer and Crime Prevention Specialist, told Q13 FOX. “The bottom line is this officer sacrificed himself for the community. While we’re out comfy, cozy in our homes. They’re out protecting us twenty-four seven.”

Behind the Badge Foundation is a resource that provides comprehensive support to Washington State’s law enforcement agencies, families and communities after an officer has died or suffered serious injury in the line of duty.

A memorial fund was created for Officer Rocha’s family in partnership with Victim Support Services, Coastal Community Bank, and the City of Everett to honor Officer Rocha and support his family.

To donate visit https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/FamiliesFriendsCopy/DanRochaMemorialFund.html.

Outpouring of Love for Dan Rocha on Social Media

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