Eric Gunderson. COURTESY PHOTO, Washington State Patrol

Eric Gunderson. COURTESY PHOTO, Washington State Patrol

Trooper Eric Gunderson’s family issues statement about his death from COVID-19

Press release answers inquiries about his vaccination status

The Washington State Patrol issued a press release Friday, Oct. 15 with a public statement from the family of the late Trooper Detective Eric Gunderson regarding the continued inquiries of his vaccination status.

Gunderson, 38, died of COVID-19 on Sept. 26 after working nearly 16 years with the State Patrol. He is survived by his wife and two sons, ages 13 and 10.

“The family has been consistent since the tragic news of Detective Gunderson’s death from Covid with their request for privacy and their appreciation for the many expressions of sympathy and appreciation for his service,” according to an email from Chris Loftis, State Patrol communications director. “With this statement, they are hopeful the questions will be answered, Eric’s dignity will be remembered, and the family’s privacy will continue to be honored.”

Here is the family’s statement:

As you know, our family was recently devastated by the loss of our beloved husband and father, Eric Gunderson to the Covid-19 virus.

The loss of this good man was made no easier knowing there have literally been hundreds of thousands of other families across our nation and millions around the world who have suffered similar losses. Our family wishes for each of those other families and loved ones peace during their own time of grief.

Eric was a young man. At 38, he was in the peak physical condition necessary to perform his duties as a member of the Washington State Patrol SWAT team. He was active with his boys, with coaching and with his job. He thought – we all thought – that Covid was something that happened to someone else. He was not in a high risk group. He contacted the virus while traveling for work this summer, a trip planned before the dangers of the delta variant were fully understood, when many travel restrictions had been reduced and there was a sense that Covid was in decline.

After he returned from his trip, he became very sick, very quickly. He was hospitalized and died some six weeks later. At roughly the same time as his work travel, Gov. Jay Inslee issued a vaccine mandate for all state employees. Eric was a loyal member of the Washington State Patrol and took an oath to follow the legal directives of the governor. We are quite sure he would have followed the vaccine mandate direction had he had the chance. Unfortunately, he did not.

It is important for everyone to know, he was not part of any anti-vaccine or political movement. Some in the media have inaccurately claimed he was part of an anti-vaccine mandate lawsuits, etc. He was not. There has been wide spread speculation about his perspectives on vaccination. We have not followed the comments on social media but I am told that many have been critical of our our beloved Eric. How sad it is people would feel compelled to criticize a good man they did not know about a situation with which they are not familiar.

Our family would have preferred to let this painful part of a painful time pass, but recently, the Seattle Times made an official public disclosure request regarding Eric’s vaccination status to WSP. The Patrol has honored our family’s wishes to keep Eric’s passing out of the political realm and to concentrate on his life of service and sacrifice. They have declined to answer similar questions from multiple media outlets since Eric’s passing. To end this painful and continuing line of inquiry, we will now share our family’s private medical information – Eric Gunderson was simply a good man, busy with life, and suddenly sickened by Covid before he could be vaccinated. He died and every member of our young family will miss him every day for the rest of our lives.

His death is a tragedy. It is not a symbol. It is not a statement. It is not part of one side’s argument over another side’s argument. It is simply the loss of a fine husband, a wonderful father, and a busy young man to Covid. That is enough drama for our family. Please respect our family’s privacy and do not add to the tragedy of our loss with further questions about Eric’s medical history.

Thank you.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@redmond-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.redmond-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in Northwest

Screenshot of April 5 Edmonds City Council meeting. Inset (L-R): Mayor Mike Nelson and council members Kristiana Johnson, Will Chen, Neil Tibbott, Diane Buckshnis, Vivian Olson, Susan Paine and Laura Johnson. (City of Edmonds)
After long debate, Edmonds bans homeless people from living outside

The criminal law is unenforceable if no shelter is open within 35 miles. The City Council approved it over public outcry.

Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
JUDGED BY XII (Episode 4): Foster mom wants accountability in Auburn cop’s upcoming murder trial

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

Sound Publishing archives
Cannabis DUI challenge rejected by state Supreme Court

Everett man argued the law must be tossed because legal limit for THC is not supported by science.

A man who appears to be President Joe Biden is seen in the back seat of a car in the president’s motorcade, departing the Green River College after the president’s speech. Photo by Alex Bruell/Sound Publishing
Judged by XII: A King County Local Dive podcast. The hands shown here belong to Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson, who has been charged with homicide in the 2019 death of Jesse Sarey.
Judged by XII (Episode 2): Police officer’s history of violence | King County Local Dive

Special podcast series explores Auburn Police Officer Jeffrey Nelson’s role in the death of Jesse Sarey.

President Joe Biden. Photo courtesy of Wikipedia
Biden visits Seattle and Green River College during trip to Pacific Northwest

The president will stress infrastructure in Portland and Seattle while raising money for the Democratic Party.

The Sammamish Valley is home to a collection of farms, wineries and tasting rooms. File photo
The Sammamish Valley is home to a collection of farms, wineries and tasting rooms. File photo
King County continues to grapple with alcohol rules in rural areas

Much of the debate surrounds wineries, breweries and distilleries operating as retail businesses.

Teaser
How a Ukrainian and Russian couple escaped a war zone

“We will never forget that sound. Boom. Boom,” said Valeriia Horodnycha, who has been staying in Mercer Island.

Sunset at Mount Rainier. NPS
Mount Rainier park approves nine new lahar monitoring stations

The new monitors can give local communities up to 10 extra minutes to evacuate in case of a disaster.

Metro Creative Graphics Photo
Health board decides against COVID vaccine requirement for students

The state Board of Health wants to see more data for younger children.

Tulalip council members and tribal members watch as Governor Jay Inslee signs bill HB 1571 into law at the Tulalip Resort on Thursday, March 31, 2022 in Tulalip, Washington. (Olivia Vanni / The Herald)
New alert system aims to bring home missing Indigenous people

Gov. Jay Inslee signed a law creating the new system. Families of the missing and murdered say it’s a start.

File photo
Cannabis stakeholders want cash out of the equation amid rash of robberies

State regulators say action from Congress is required for cannabis industry to use credit cards.