Friends of Bremerton shooter say he had marital problems

Suspect dead; two police officers recovering from injuries

BREMERTON — The man shot by Bremerton police early Dec. 17 had marital problems and was kicked out of his home prior to the shooting, neighbors and friends told Kitsap Daily News.

Yolunda Brown described Willie Mccord as a family man who had fallen on hard times.

“It was an isolated incident with him and his wife, the violence that happened. It was not a regular occurrence,” Brown said. “He was a very, very, very, nice man and he was good to his wife, and he was good to his children and his family … He was a mentor to some of the kids around here. He was a good person.”

Wilda Smith painted a similar picture of Mccord, saying he was a man who worked hard to support his family, but had troubles at home that recently sent him on a downward spiral, eventually leading to him sleeping in his car.

“He was a quiet man, he didn’t talk to anybody when this started happening,” Smith said. “You could see the pain in him.”

Two Bremerton police officers contacted Mccord shortly before 2 a.m. Dec. 17 as he sat in his SUV in the Lions Park parking lot, suspecting him of violating a domestic violence protection order. As officers approached, according to the police department’s account, Mccord opened fire with two handguns, striking both officers. The officers returned fire, killing Mccord.

The officers were taken to Harrison Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries. One officer was discharged from Harrison Medical Center, according to the police department.

Bremerton Police Chief Steve Strachan said this was not the first time Mccord had had contact with police, and that he had fought with cops in the past.

“We knew that he was ramping up, that he was violent in the past,” Strachan said.

But Smith said, “This is not the man we knew. I feel bad because of what he did and how he did this, but I really think my friend was hurting.”

Smith said that while she grieved for the loss of her friend, she feels for the two officers injured in the shooting as well. “I feel bad for everybody in this situation,” she said. “I don’t want my police to get hurt, because I got to call them when I’m getting hurt. [But] the man was not a monster.”

She said, “I think he was really distraught and had no consideration for his own life … I think he might have wanted to hurt himself, honestly, why do you come out blazing? No one does that if they want to survive. He lost it, he truly lost it.”

Mccord, Smith said, often acted as a role model and mentor to youth in the area.

“The young black men in this community used to look up to him,” she said, struggling to hold back tears. “This is not the way his life should have ended. He was no thug, running the streets, or selling drugs … He held down his community, he was loved by the people who knew him and he shouldn’t have died like that.”

According to Sgt. Kevin Crane of the Bremerton Police Department, no video evidence exists of the shooting due to the fact that officers are not equipped with bodycams, nor were their vehicles outfitted with recording equipment.

“One officer has over 42 years experience, 25 plus with our department. The other officer is approximately a five-year veteran with one year with our department,” Crane said.

“It appears preliminarily, they did a remarkable job.”

The Kitsap County Sheriff’s Office is currently leading the investigation into the shooting.

— Nick Twietmeyer is a reporter for Kitsap News Group. Contact him at