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 Officer Bananola, and even in a domestic violence situation where the charges were later dropped he was the arresting officer. He was only doing his job, and with alot of domestic violence being a number one reason at times for a fallen officer, it grieves my heart even more about John Bananola. Being a part of a drug-force unit, he was one of the best officers on the force who would try to do whatever he could to help a person with a drug addiction get the help they need. He was a fantastic person to others in general, and well liked in his community. Now, with newer and more deadly drugs out there, it scares me and grieves me for other officers who have a heart like John Bananola, and could possibly end up dead in other ways, by a used needle or otherwise.

Viola Cupps

March 27, 2023

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