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Governor at memorial: Slain officers 'best of who we can be'

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Memorial for four Lakewood, Washington, police officers held in Tacoma
  • Nearly 20,000 people -- many of them police officers -- attend, KIRO reports
  • Slain officers would say, "I was doing my duty," mayor says
  • Officers fatally shot in coffee shop on November 29

(CNN) -- Four police officers fatally shot in a Washington coffee shop last month were "the best of who we can be," Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire told thousands of people gathered at the officers' memorial service on Tuesday.

Nearly 20,000 people -- mostly police officers from across the United States and Canada -- attended the service in the Tacoma Dome in Tacoma, Washington, CNN affiliate KIRO reported.

"Sgt. Mark Renninger [and] officers Tina Griswold, Ron Owens and Greg Richards were the best of who we can be: Dedicated leaders and citizens who cared for their community," Gregoire said at the service.

The Lakewood police officers -- Renninger, 39; Griswold, 40; Owens, 37; and Richards, 42 -- were fatally shot November 29 in a coffee shop near Lakewood by an Arkansas parolee with a lengthy criminal history, police said.

The suspect, Maurice Clemmons, 37, was shot dead by a Seattle, Washington, police officer two days later after a manhunt that stretched across the Seattle and Tacoma areas.

Video: Thousands gather for funeral
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Before the service Tuesday, a procession of thousands of police vehicles went from McChord Air Force Base to the Tacoma Dome, taking several hours to complete, KIRO reported. In the dome, colleagues and relatives took to the podium to recall the fallen officers, each of whom had children.

KIRO: Local coverage of memorial

Renninger was recalled as a dedicated SWAT member who loved NASCAR. Owens and Griswold were remembered for their love of motorcycle rides, and Richards for jamming with a band.

"If these officers were here this afternoon, to an officer they would tell you, 'On November 29, I was doing my duty.' And there is no higher calling than to do one's duty, and they served well," Lakewood Mayor Doug Richardson said.

Five people, including a man who identified himself as Clemmons' half-brother and neighbor, have been charged on suspicion of helping Clemmons elude police after the shooting, according to court documents.