2/22/17 Expressions of condolences continue to come in from around the union after the tragic death of Rainier School Local 491 member Cody Buffington. Out of discretion requested by the family and the ongoing police investigation, we are not releasing any details that have not yet appeared in the media. As soon as we know of any services, we will pass then along.
The office of AFSCME President Lee Saunders has expressed condolences. Federation locals are stepping up to help Buffington?s family, including Yakima Local 1326, which approved $500 to help the family with immediate needs.
KOMO TV broadcast the Federation condolences in their report of Feb. 16:
"The mood is somber. They've lost one of their own. They've lost a family member," said Tim Welch from the Washington Federation of State Employees.
"We don't have all the facts in this tragedy, but if there is a connection between the assault and the unfortunate death of our member, it spotlights the very dangerous nature of these work sites out there," said Welch.
Now, here are the facts as reported by KOMO, which has had the most extensive and comprehensive coverage. At the end of this item will be two links to stories they've broadcast.
Buffington, 42, died the evening of Feb. 14 after he and three other co-workers were involved in an assault.
The accused female resident has been arrested, but no charges have been filed in this case. We are waiting for further word from police to determine if the assault in fact led to Buffington's death.
"But, police said Buffington went home at the end of his shift, then started complaining of feeling ill and died later that night," KOMO TV reported.
Police are investigating Buffington's death as a homicide, KOMO said.
According to KOMO: "The female resident accused in that assault appeared in court Tuesday (Feb. 21), charged with a previous assault on a staff member who suffered a broken wrist. We're not naming or showing the suspect...."
"Police are waiting for more autopsy reports to determine if something happened during the assault that later resulted in death."
KOMO News links:
Former Rainier School staff: Assault on staff member didn't need to happen: http://komonews.com/news/local/former-rainier-school-staff-assault-on-staff-member-didnt-need-to-happen
2/16/17 Homicide investigation underway at Rainier School in Buckley after death of staff member: