Deputy Sheriff John Bananola

Deputy Sheriff John Bananola

Pierce County Sheriff's Department, Washington

End of Watch Monday, October 16, 1995

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John Bananola

Deputy Sheriff John Bananola was shot and killed while serving a narcotics-related search warrant at a house at 902 E 52nd Street in Tacoma.

Deputy Bananola was the first of a six-man team to enter the house. He was confronted by the suspect and identified himself as an officer. The suspect fired at least ten shots with a 9mm handgun, striking Deputy Bananola nine times. Deputy Bananola was able to return fire and struck the suspect in the groin.

The suspect was found guilty of drug charges but there was a hung jury on the first-degree murder charges. A second trial found the suspect guilty of second-degree murder and he was sentenced to a total of 40 years. During an appeal of the conviction, he was found guilty and given an even longer sentence.

Deputy Bananola was a U.S. Air Force veteran and served with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department for eight years. He is survived by his daughter and stepson.


  • Age 36
  • Tour 8 years
  • Badge 271
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; 9 mm
  • Offender Sentenced to 40 years

narcotics, search warrant

Most Recent Reflection

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I knew John fairly well. John was working on the Narcotics Strike Force for Pierce County Sheriff's Office. I met John while I was working on the Drug Suppression Team for Army CID at Fort Lewis. John's death was a real shocker and eye opener for me. I literally had a beer with John the week before he was murdered. I have a photo of that evening I last saw John. I also knew all the Deputies who were with John at the Search Warrant when he was murdered. News spread pretty quick after John was murdered and I was very upset for some while, in fact I still am when I reflect on the tragedy of it all. For those who did not know John he was the most honest, friendly stand-up guy I have known. He was always more than eager to help in whatever task was at hand. I worked an illegal Marijuana Grow investigation with John and Gabe Fajardo (Gabe is retired now), Gabe is a top cop and honest and friendly like John. Gabe was my friend, working in the Narcotics Strike Force, when he introduced me to John. John and I had many cups of coffee when he was on patrol.
It was always a highlight of my day to see and have coffee with John. RIP John. We think about you all the time. Your legacy was not forgotten.

Supervisory Special Agent Thomas Barnes
Army Criminal Investigative Division

September 9, 2022

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