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Gunshot Claims Police Chief's Wife

May 04, 2003|From Associated Press

TACOMA, Wash. — The wife of the city's police chief died Saturday, a week after he shot her in the head and then killed himself.

Crystal Brame, 35, "suffered a severe and rapid deterioration in her neurologic status" late Friday after showing signs of improvement earlier, said her attorney, Joseph Lombino. "Crystal's family is devastated by this tragic turn of events," Lombino said.

Meanwhile, about 200 of David Brame's friends and family attended his funeral, where his father, Gene Brame, spoke of the tragedy, saying that his son was unable to cope with the breakup of his marriage and that "his brilliant mind snapped."

The couple's two children, who witnessed the shooting, did not attend the service.

Also Saturday, the Tacoma City Council met to discuss longtime City Manager Ray Corpuz Jr.'s decision last year to name David Brame, a department veteran, as chief of police.

Council members said they don't intend to fire Corpuz or seek his resignation during the "extraordinary" session called by Mayor Bill Baarsma. But some are expected to suggest that Corpuz be placed on leave until questions are resolved about Brame's promotion.

Corpuz said last week that he had several conversations with Brame about his divorce and offered him time off, but never asked Brame whether he was fit for duty or suggested he step aside.

Quoting city government sources, the News Tribune of Tacoma reported that on April 25, the day before the shootings, the city's top two human resource officials recommended that Corpuz take away Brame's gun and badge.

Corpuz has placed acting chief Catherine Woodard on leave pending a Washington State Patrol investigation. Crystal Brame had accused Woodard of intimidating and threatening her on April 11, when Woodard accompanied David Brame on a visit to pick up the couple's two children at their maternal grandparents' home.

A second investigation is being conducted by the Washington Assn. of Sheriffs and Police Chiefs, which will review Brame's hiring and his personal and professional life.

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