'Somebody that always stepped up:' Law enforcement officials remember SWAT deputy Dom Calata

Pierce County Sheriff's SWAT deputy Dominique ‘Dom’ Calata was one of two deputies shot while serving a warrant in Spanaway on Tuesday. Calata died from his injuries in St. Joseph Medical Center on Wednesday afternoon. 

"[Dom] was all about service… and I'll tell you where that comes from—after meeting his parents, his parents are something," said Pierce County Sheriff Ed Troyer at a briefing outside St. Joseph on Wednesday. "They stood by his side, and they’re very happy with us and the citizens of Pierce County, and told me how much he loved his job. It starts at home."

"We're all family here… my dad works here, my brother works here," said Sgt. Darren Moss. "I grew up in this community… I love this department, I love all of our deputies. I love Sgt. Rich Scaniffe, I love Deputy Dom Calata."

The 35-year-old husband and father died protecting that community where he was raised. 

Calata was described by Troyer as a "big-hearted guy who got into this job for the right reasons." 

Moss said behind the badge, Calata was a man with a huge smile, that’s how he’ll be remembered. 

"He's one of the nicest people I've ever been around, so I want people to remember him for that," Moss said. 

Calata patrolled the South Hill area since 2015. Before joining the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department, he was a soldier for the Army for eight years and he served with the Washington National Guard. In 2020, Calata returned home after a year-long activation and deployment overseas. 

He left behind a wife, a young child and family, friends and coworkers who cared about him deeply. 

"He passed away with his coworkers, his family, his wife, and parents by his side," Troyer said. "Our other deputy who was injured-- we managed to get him in the room to say goodbye before this occurred." 

'Dom was all about service'; Community reactions pour in after Pierce County deputy dies, other in recovery

Local law enforcement agencies and communities throughout Washington state are reacting after two SWAT deputies with the Pierce County Sheriff's Department were shot in Spanaway, one of whom died from his injuries Wednesday.

At the same time, some of his brothers and sisters were out keeping the community safe when they heard dispatch announce his End of Watch over their radios. 

"Pierce County unit four-four-zero, Pierce County unit four-forty, out of service for the final time. Gone and never forgotten," the alert said. 

Deputy Calata may be gone, but he won’t be forgotten. 

"We're all family here to support each other through these tough times," Moss said. "It's unfortunate, but we've seen the worst of the worst in Pierce County and seems like time and time again. So yeah, we're ready for the challenge when it comes up." 

Community members are paying respects by laying down flowers and balloons at the Edgewood Police Department

Even after death, Calata is making difference: his family is donating his organs.  

As Calata’s wife and 4-year-old son mourn his loss, they’re left behind with special memories, like his last "Storytime with the Sheriff," where he read his son’s favorite book. 

 "When you close your eyes at night imagine the moon's twinkling light shining down with a silvery glow as we dream our dreams in the world below," that’s the end," Calata read.  

The Pierce County Sheriff’s Department said a procession will be held pending his organ donation. 

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