3/6/2018 UPDATE: The city of Bonney Lake will be hosting a candlelight vigil for Bonney Lake Officer James Larsen and resident Zach Roundtree, who were killed last weekend in an avalanche above Cle Elum.
The vigil will be at Allan Yorke Park on Thursday, March 8 at approximately 6:15 p.m at the flagpole.
3/5/2018 ORIGINAL STORY: An avalanche in Kittitas County devastated the Bonney Lake community, killing two — one a Bonney Lake police officer — and injuring two more last weekend.
According to a BLPD press release, the avalanche hit the four snowmobilers at around 1:30 in the afternoon on Saturday, March 3.
The avalanche was roughly 20 miles northeast of Cle Elum in the northern Esmeralda Peak area, the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office said.
BLPD officer James Larsen, 41, was killed on the mountain, as well as Zach Roundtree, 27.
Larsen served with the BLPD for more than 14 years, ran his own business and was working on becoming a pilot.
“Our hearts and prayers are going out to his family and friends. He’s going to be a very missed officer, family, and friend,” Sgt. Ryan Boyle said Monday morning. “It’s going to be a tough one, but we’re going to get through it.”
Officer Daron Wolschleger echoed Boyle’s sentiment.
“He was a fantastic police officer and a friend to everyone who knew him,” Wolschleger said. “The outpouring of support by the members of the community since his passing is a testament to the kind of person he was and how he lived his life. He will be greatly missed.”
Roundtree is reportedly the son of a long-time Bonney Lake public works staff member.
City resident Kyle Ottwell, 26, was airlifted to Harborview with injuries, and Ryan Journey, 27, suffered minor injuries.
A memorial site is being created at the flag pole at the Bonney Lake Police Department building.
Additionally, Mayor Neil Johnson has ordered all city flags to be flown at half-mast in honor of Larsen.
BLPD officers will be wearing mourning bands until further notice.
Funeral information is expected at a later time, though it was planned for Larsen to return to Buckley, his city of residence, Tuesday, March 6.
Kittitas County Undersheriff Clayton Myers said the avalanche danger in the area is still high, and there have been a total of five avalanche deaths in the past week.