April 24, 2024 2:52 pm

The premier news source for Snohomish County

Memorial held for fallen State Trooper at Everett’s Angel of the Wind Arena

EVERETT—Law enforcement agencies throughout the state gathered together with Snohomish County residents at the Angel of the Winds Arena in Everett, Tuesday, March 12, to honor the life of Washington State Patrol Trooper Christopher Gadd #927, who was killed in the line-of-duty on March 2 after being struck by a speeding, and allegedly impaired, driver who was also unlawfully in the country.

state trooper
Outside of Angel of the Wind Arena in preparation for the memorial service of Washington State trooper Chris Gadd on March 12, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Before the memorial service, a procession began at the Tulalip Resort Casino at 11 a.m., consisting of law enforcement agencies showing their condolences. The route merged onto Interstate 5 from 88th Street/Quil Ceda Way, exited Interstate 5 at the Everett Avenue exit (194), continued right at Everett Avenue City Center, turned right onto Everett Avenue, right again on Broadway, exited onto Marine View Drive, turned left on East Marine View Drive, left again on Hewitt, and eventually arrived at Angel of the Winds Arena where the service was open to the public at noon.

“Today, we mourn the tragic loss of Washington State Trooper Christopher Gadd; in his honor, we’re lowering all WA and US flags to half-staff at all state agency facilities. Trooper Gadd will be missed but not forgotten,” Washington State Governor Jay Inslee took to X Wednesday morning.

The service opened with Ron Mead, Master of Ceremonies and Captain of the Washington State Patrol, who shared a few words before Detective Jeffrey Eiffert, WSP, sang the National Anthem. A WSP flag, adorned with 32 streamers each indicating a fallen WSP officer, was walked up to the stage before a new streamer, representing Trooper Gadd, was added.

state trooper
Washington State Trooper Chris Gadd (left) with Chief John Batiste receiving his Basic Training Certificate. SOURCE: Washington State Patrol.

“Chris’ passing is a devastating loss to all of those who know, all too well, the rewards and risks of public service in a family that has offered that service with unquestionable valor and, tragically now, unfathomable sacrifice,” said Captain Mead. “A loss that is this unimaginable creates a void that will forever be present in the lives of Chris’ family, his co-workers, and his friends.”

state trooper
Senator John Lovick (D-Mill Creek, center) is just one of many state dignitaries attending the memorial service of Washington State trooper Chris Gadd at Angel of the Wind Arena on March 12, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Pastor Matt Krachunis, with Faith and Victory Church in Auburn, then led a word of prayer before reading Trooper Christopher M. Gadd’s eulogy.

“Chris was a fantastic, wonderful, human being. He deeply loved other and was deeply loved by others…The world was better with him in it,” said Pastor Krachunis.

Trooper Gadd had the highest GPA in his academy and was chosen as his graduation speaker, Pastor Krachunis mentioned showcasing that he was tremendously proud of the work he did with Washington State Patrol despite “a dramatic shift in the honor and respect” for those working in the law enforcement profession within the last four years.

“Chris Gadd embodied the training division core values that we so impress upon cadets to learn on the path to earn the hat, the badge, and the title trooper,” said Alexis Robertson, Chris Gadd’s academy instructor.

state trooper
Outside of Angel of the Wind Arena in preparation for the memorial service of Washington State trooper Chris Gadd on March 12, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Pastor Krachunis returned to the podium to conclude Tuesday afternoon’s service with a benediction.

A brief remembrance video was then shared before 21st WSP Chief John Batiste and WSP Sergeant Anthony Califano shared some remarks.

“Chris Gadd was simply the best of us. He showed that in his training, graduating first in his class – 116th trooper basic training. He showed that in his service by dutifully working the roads here in Snohomish County since late 2022. He showed it in his professionalism, upholding the laws in our state for the wellbeing of others and doing so with kindness and understanding. He showed it in his good humor, his devotion to his lovely family, and in honor he showed it to his father,” said WSP Chief Batiste.

state trooper
Outside of Angel of the Wind Arena in preparation for the memorial service of Washington State trooper Chris Gadd on March 12, 2024. Lynnwood Times | Mario Lotmore.

Sergeant Anthony Califano shared that Trooper Gadd hit the ground running after graduating from the academy. He shared some memories of when Gadd first entered his unit, how he had a gift for speaking to anyone and everyone, and a comedic story about when Trooper Gadd’s hat flew off while conducting a traffic stop. Sgt. Califano suspects Gadd’s hat is still somewhere on I5 and mentioned Trooper Gadd had come to be known for wearing his signature WSP-issued beanie since.

“He never did anything halfway and always gave it his all in everything. Chris was a hard worker, a humble servant, a joker, compassionate, selfless, and ambitious. He always had a smile on his face and always loved doing the job even when he was doing undesirable task,” said Sgt. Califano.

The pallbearers of the ceremony included Washington State Troopers Patrick Williams, Michael Northrop, Lars Weigel, Rommie Smith, Duran Santacruz, Kyle Nien, and Conner Ahlstedt.

The family ofallen WSP Trooper Christopher Gadd released the following statement regarding Tuesday’s memorial service: “We wanted to extend our gratitude to the community for their support leading up to today’s memorial service. Witnessing the seats of the arena filled with representatives from across the country was warming to our hearts as we came together to honor a beloved husband, father, son, and brother. We deeply appreciate all who have reached out and shown your love to our family during this difficult time. We will continue on this difficult journey together privately as a family.”

About the death of Trooper Gadd

WSP Trooper Christopher Gadd was tragically killed in the line-of-duty on March 2, allegedly by Raul Benitez Santana, 32, who slammed into the back of Gadd’s patrol vehicle. Santana was also suspected of being impaired at the time of the collision. Gadd, just 27, was working on DUI patrol duty near Marysville.

Santana entered the United States without permission and was in the country illegally, an ICE spokesman confirmed with FOX13 Seattle on March 5.

The official charges against Santana are vehicular homicide, due to driving recklessly or impaired, for the alleged death of Trooper Gadd and a secondary charge of vehicular assault, due to allegedly driving recklessly or impaired, related to Santana’s vehicle subsequently involved in a collision with a van carrying six people after hitting Gadd’s vehicle. The driver of the van in the subsequent collision was transported to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. The five passengers in the van were not injured.

According to Detective Monson’s account after watching a video of the incident, Santana crossed over to an unoccupied right lane on I-5, then signaled and entered the shoulder lane fully, continuing to drive forward for some time on the shoulder before hitting Trooper Gadd’s patrol vehicle at full speed.

“No doubt, the fact that he had been drinking and consuming marijuana, contributed to his [Mr. Santana’s] failure to recognize that the shoulder is not a proper lane of travel,” Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Darrow said at Santana’s March 4 court hearing. “But he didn’t recognize that and so it is certainly reckless, and it is a fair inference he is impaired by the substances he has been using.”

Santana is currently still in custody and his bail is set for $1 million.

Santana first had contact with Seattle Enforcement and Removal Operations (ICE) on October 28, 2013, for failing to appear for driving with a suspended license. According to KIRO7, Santana has multiple run ins with law enforcement, from traffic infractions to domestic violence.

Trooper Gadd was born in Pasco and grew up near Covington, Washington. He graduated from Kentlake High School and attended Green River College and Tacoma Community College where he received his EMS certificate before entering the police academy.

Trooper Gadd began working with the Washington State Patrol on September 16, 2021. He is survived by his wife Cammryn, their two-year-old daughter Kaelyn, his father David Gadd, a former WSP trooper himself, his mother Gillian, and his sister Jacqueline, a state trooper in Texas.

Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation Support for the family of Trooper Gadd

chris gadd
SOURCE: Washington State Patrol.

The Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation has shared below four ways community members can make donations for the Gadd family. All of the donations received in Trooper Gadd’s name will be given directly to the family.

  1. Using Venmo, donations can be sent to @WSP-MemorialFoundation. Please note “Trooper Gadd” in the note section. (If last 4 is requested, use 4411)
  2. Go into any Chase Bank Branch and make a check deposit into the “Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation” account. “Trooper Gadd” should be noted on the check note line.
  3. Using your own bank, you can log in online or through your mobile app and make a donation using Zelle. Donations can be sent to our WSPMF number, 360-597-4411, or email, wspmemorialfoundation@gmail.com. Please note “Trooper Gadd”. All donations received will be held for the family. There are no fees with using Zelle.
  4. You can mail a check made out to WSPMF with “Trooper Gadd” on the note line to:

WSP Memorial Foundation
PO Box 901
Prosser, WA 99350

For any questions, please contact Megan King at wspmemorialfoundation@gmail.com.


EDITOR’S NOTE: The article was updated at 4:48 p.m., March 12, 2024, with the Gadd Family’s statement regarding the memorial service.

One Response

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Tell Us What You Think.

Is this the greatest webiste you have ever seen?

Join Our Mailing List