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Tammy Porter

Sunday, September 1st, 2002

An armed citizen who became a
hero when she tried to intervene in
the brutal slaying of a King County,
WA sheriff ’s deputy has received the
CCRKBA Gun Rights Defender of the
Month Award for September.
Tammy Porter of Richland, WA was
nominated for the honor by Dave
Workman, CCRKBA Communications
Director. He said her heroic
behavior with a firearm during the
tragic occurrence in June well qualifies
her for the award.
The occurrence took place in Newcastle,
a suburban community just
south of Bellevue and east of Seattle
one weekend in June while Tammy
was visiting there. Workman, himself
a Seattle-area resident, reported the
incident in Gun Week, where he is
senior editor.
Deputy Richard Herzog City of
Newcastle was on duty in Newcastle,
“when he encountered Ronald Keith
Matthews, Sr., stark naked, crazed
from smoking crack cocaine, out of
prison just 11 days for having assaulted
a female Bellevue police officer,
and looking for trouble,” Workman
wrote. “He attacked Herzog, who
tried to subdue him with pepper
spray, but Matthews grappled with
the cop, causing his holstered Glock
.40-caliber pistol to fall to the ground.
“Matthews is alleged to have
grabbed the gun and its dislodged
magazine, reinsert the magazine and
start firing, 16 shots in all, hitting
Herzog in the leg and then, after the
officer had stumbled, walking up and
coldly, methodically pumping four
rounds into the back of his head.”
This happened just yards away
from Tammy’s car, as she and a friend
were returning from a community
parade in Seattle. She witnessed the
entire incident. As things deteriorated,
Porter went to her car trunk
and pulled out a .40-caliber Browning
Hi-Power in what Workman characterized
as “a sadly unsuccessful effort
to assist the fallen cop.”
Herzog had approached Matthews
who was behaving in a wildly disruptive
manner.
“Next thing I know,” Porter said,
“this guy (Matthews) pounces on
him (Herzog) and they were both
fighting for the gun. He (Matthews)
was trying to slap the gun out of the
holster, hitting the butt of the gun. His
agenda was very clear. He wanted
that gun.”
By that time, Porter had gotten her
gun out of her car trunk. “When I
looked up,” she said, “I was probably
two car lengths away when the shooting
first started. He (Matthews) was
hot on the officer’s tail. I could see
the fear in Herzog’s eyes. Matthews
was shooting into his bullet proof
vest several times.”
Porter ran up from where she was
parked and topped a small rise just as
Herzog fell, noted Workman, “hoping
to either hand him her pistol, or
to intervene. She instead saw the
fatal shots fired. But, from her position,
she did not have a clear shot. At
one point, several onlookers were in
the background. A second later, an
apartment building was behind her,
and she feared that a possible miss
might send a bullet through the wall
of the building…
“Instead of chasing the killer, Porter
went to see if she could help the
downed cop. She grabbed his portable
radio, and told the dispatcher that
shots had been fired and an officer
was down and needed assistance.
Porter knew almost immediately that
for Herzog, help would be futile.”
Porter and several other witnesses
stood around Herzog to protect the
body and the crime scene.
Porter told Point Blank that she
thought her armed presence at that
moment prevented Matthews from
doing more harm to other people.
She also said it was most unfortunate
that no one other than herself, an out
of town resident, had been armed at
the time and been able to prevent
Matthews from murdering Herzog.
“It’s pretty sad when an outsider
has to do this,” she said. “People need
to educate themselves and stop being
so ignorant. If we were to take the
time to educate our children about
guns, we wouldn’t have the gun
violence we have in our schools.” She
said also that if more private citizens
would arm themselves, there would
not have to be a funeral for a dead
police officer, “the next time.”
Porter told Point Blank that she will
be called as a witness in Matthews’
murder trial early next year.
Tammy was born in in the Tri-
Cities area of Eastern Washington’s
Franklin County. She graduated from
Burbank, WA High School in 1991
and worked weekends while in high
school as an IBP security guard. She
later worked in a pet store for several
years, and now trains. She and her
husband, William, who has been a
gunsmith for 30 years, are the parents
of a son, also named William, who is
four years old