When Edmonds-Woodway High School junior Jacob Kimerer heard about the fatal shooting of four Lakewood police officers last Sunday morning, he did what many teens do when they want to share information — he created a Facebook group.
Kimerer couldn’t have predicted that, two days later, his “In Memory of The Lakewood Officers” page would have nearly 143,000 group members — a number that is increasing by the hour and is a tribute both to the outpouring of community emotions and the power of social networking.
After news broke about the Lakewood tragedy, in which four police officers were gunned down in a coffee shop, Kimerer said he was inspired to memorialize the officers after remembering the Facebook page created when Seattle Police Officer Timothy Brenton was killed in October. “I sent the page out to my friends, and I guess they sent it out to a lot of people,” Kimerer said. “It just keeps growing and it’s incredible.”
He maintains a list of related events on the site, including prayer services and vigils for the fallen officers, but everything else on the Facebook group page — from videos to photos to heartfelt messages ranging from sadness to outrage — are generated by Facebook users.
The 17-year-old Kimerer is no stranger to the world of police service. His father, Scott, is Chief of the Burien Police Department, and his law enforcement family tree includes two uncles, two grandfathers and a grandmother with backgrounds in police work. Kimerer himself heads up the Edmonds Police Department’s Police Explorers group, and he plans to be a police officer some day.
The publicity surrounding the Lakewood page has made him a popular interview subject: He was on two radio stations before school this morning and has also been interviewed by two area daily newspapers. Yet, he’s uncomfortable with the media spotlight: “It’s a lot of attention that shouldn’t be going toward me. It should be going to the officers,” Kimerer said.
He plans to attend the public memorial for the fallen officers Dec. 8 in the Tacoma Dome, and hopes that people will continue to use the Facebook page to recognize the officers’ sacrifice in the line of duty. “It’s really showing how a community can come together in a time of tragedy,” he said.
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