|Birth: ||Apr. 29, 1960|
|Death: ||Dec. 2, 2006|
Slain deputy had become White Center's "Superman"
Giving up a successful career in law is an unusual route to becoming a beat cop.
But King County Sheriff's Deputy Steve Cox was an unusually idealistic man, say those who knew him. Frustrated with criminals beating the legal system, he left his job as a deputy prosecutor to patrol the streets in White Center, the high-crime neighborhood near where he grew up.
To business owners and residents, he became a "Superman" who was single-handedly making the streets safer and the neighborhood better. He became so deeply involved in community issues that he was elected president of the local council. To his family, he was a man who had found new joy since he and his wife, Maria, adopted a baby, Bronson, who turned 1 in October.
Now the neighborhood is mourning after Cox, 46, was shot and killed early Saturday.
At 1:42 a.m., Cox was called to a White Center house party following reports of gunshots. He was the lone deputy interviewing partygoers one-by-one in a bedroom when a man drew a gun. Cox was shot once in the head. Hearing shots, two other deputies ran toward the room and a firefight ensued. The shooter, identified by law-enforcement sources as Raymond O. Porter, 23, was killed.
Cox later died at Harborview Medical Center.
"He was just a helluva guy ... He was so well respected over there in the White Center community it's just hard to believe," said his father, Ron Cox. "I'm so angry with the guy who killed him. It was so unnecessary."
Tearful friends and colleagues brought bouquets of flowers and notes to a makeshift memorial at the White Center Sheriff & Community Service Center in the hours after his death. King County deputies plan to hold a round-the-clock vigil there until Cox's funeral.
Cox grew up in the Shorewood neighborhood southwest of White Center. His parents were both teachers at nearby schools. Tall and athletic, Cox played basketball at Evergreen High School. He graduated with a bachelor's degree from Central Washington University, then with a law degree from Willamette University in Salem, Ore.
By the mid-1990s, Cox was working as a deputy prosecutor on high-profile murder and gang cases in Pasco. Although always intense and serious, Cox also had a soft side, which came out in the way he cared for the small dogs he raised, said Franklin County Prosecutor Steve Lowe.
Lowe said Cox sat down with him several times to talk about his misgivings about the legal system.
"It's not a perfect system, and sometimes we lose cases because of technicalities. That really, really bothered him," Lowe said. "He made it clear that his goal in life was to go back and be a patrol officer. He was frustrated with what is frankly an imperfect system, and he wanted to always help people and make the community safer. He felt he could do that better back in law enforcement."
After a brief stint working as a prosecutor back in King County, Cox joined the Sheriff's Office nine years ago. Soon after, he married Maria, a bodybuilder, whom he met in a gym. Cox was a fitness buff himself and worked out regularly.
Just over three years ago he was assigned to White Center — the place he had repeatedly told friends and colleagues he wanted to serve and where he thought he could make the biggest impact.
"He wanted to be on the front lines fighting crime," said his brother, also named Ron Cox. "He was an athlete, a fierce competitor and everything he did, he gave 110 percent."
Local bartender Cheryl Moss said Cox did more than anyone else to clean up drug dealing and prostitution: "He was our Superman. And now our Superman's dead."
Last year, Cox's work in White Center was recognized when he won a Community Builder Award from the Seattle Neighborhood Group. As well as his police work, Cox also spoke in local schools, helped organize community festivals and maintained several rental properties in the area.
"You'd see him driving around in his beat-up pickup truck with his dog and plywood hanging out the back," said childhood friend Tony Benavides. "Everyone here knows Steve. I can't even believe it that he's gone. It's surreal."
In his role as president of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, Cox would talk to a wide range of people to gauge their views. He became a fierce supporter of the neighborhood being annexed into the city of Burien rather than the city of Seattle, said council treasurer Barbara Peters.
"He thought this best for the community. He wanted it to stay a small community and Seattle is very, very large," she said. "The majority of people, especially the older people, want a small community and easy access to the government."
Cox and his wife adopted Bronson from Guatemala. They had planned to adopt a second child next year.
"When that little boy came along, it lit up his whole world," Peters said. "He was just a great father."
Community leaders and family friends are considering options for a memorial service. One problem may be finding a site big enough to hold it.
from Seattle times:Steve COX Was born in Seattle, Washington on April 29, 1960, and lost his life in the line of duty on December 2, 2006. He was 46. He was a loving and devoted husband to his wife, Maria, and the proudest of fathers to his 1 year old son, Bronson and his step-daughter, Nicole. Steve will be deeply missed by all whose life he touched, including his family, the King County Sheriff's Department where he proudly served, and the community of White Center where he was a vital part of their community. Steve will be deeply missed by his loving parents, Ronald E. Cox and Joan E. Cox, and his younger brother, Ron Cox. Family was a cornerstone for Steve. Steve was raised in Burien, where he was a graduate of Evergreen High School, Class of 1978. He earned his Bachelors Degree from Central Washington University, and his Law Degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon. Steve began his law career in the Tri Cities where he served as the Deputy Prosecuting Attorney of Franklin County. Later Steve took a position as a prosecutor in King County, but soon gave that up to pursue his lifelong desire to become a police officer. One of Steve's proudest moments was becoming a Deputy with the King County Sheriff's Department, where he tirelessly devoted the last 9 years of his life. Many people go to work to make money. Steve went to work to make a difference. His passions in life were his family, serving his community, working on his rental properties, exercising, loving his dogs, Luna and Danny, and being a devoted husband and father. Six months ago, Steve and Maria fulfilled Steve's biggest dream by becoming parents to Bronson, whom they adopted from Guatemala. Bronson brought a light to Steve's world that no degree ever could. He was truly at the happiest time of his life. Steve's work in White Center, where he served for the last 3 years brought him back to his old neighborhood to make a difference. He was President of the North Highline Unincorporated Area Council, worked as a volunteer in the community, and was instrumental in formulating the Weed and Seed program. His family can only hope his legacy will live on. No words can properly say good-bye to a man who was larger than life. His family will be lost without Steve, we will miss him, and will love him forever. Steve is also survived by his sister in law, Ingrid Cox, nephews, P.J. and Drew Cox, niece, Nicki Cox, brother in law, Pedro (and wife, Ximena) Arango, sister in law, Luzma (and husband, John) Woods, sister in law, Clara (and husband, Harry) Hettinger, his Aunt, Patti and Uncle Doug Leifeste, cousins, Sandra Owen, Gary Leifeste, Cindy (and Chris) Golob and Judy (and Randy) Querin. He also leaves behind many friends who loved him. Steve will be honored with a Police Procession and Service held at the Christian Faith Center in SeaTac, WA on Friday, December 8 at 11:00 a.m. Donations can be made to the Steve Cox Memorial fund at any US Bank. Arrangements entrusted to BONNEY-WATSON Washington Memorial, 16445 International Blvd, SeaTac (206) 242-1787. Please sign the online memorial at www.bonneywatson.com.
Published in print on 12/7/2006.
Washington Memorial Park
Created by: All for my Dita
Record added: Dec 03, 2006
Find A Grave Memorial# 16895888