Suspect who killed deputy gunned down in shootout with police
COWLITZ COUNTY, Wash. – The man suspected of fatally shooting a Washington state sheriff’s deputy Saturday night was killed in a shootout with authorities on Sunday and two other men were arrested, police said.
Deputy Justin DeRosier, 29, was shot and killed after responding to a report of a disabled vehicle blocking a roadway northeast of Kalama around 10 p.m., the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office wrote on Facebook. He was shot soon afterwards and died during surgery, officials said. The shooting prompted a manhunt for the suspect or suspects responsible for DeRosier’s death.
On Sunday around 7:00 p.m., officers responded to reports of a suspicious person near Spencer Creek Road, in Kalama, the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said. When the officers arrived, the suspect exchanged gunfire with the officers and was killed. None of the officers were injured in the shootout, The Oregonian reported.
Authorities have not released the identity of the suspect or the two men who were arrested. No additional details were released.
“Deputy DeRosier made a huge impact in his short career and will forever live in our hearts and mind,” the sheriff’s office wrote.
Sheriff Brad Thurman told the Longview Daily News it was believed to be the first death of an officer in the line of duty in the history of the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.
Visibly emotional himself, Cowlitz County Undersheriff Darren Ullmann said the fallen deputy’s daughter is “always going to know what an incredible man her father was.”
“Most of us have known him most of his life. There were few cops who want to be a cop more than Justin did. He loved his job. He was incredibly good at it. And as you can imagine, as I’m obviously showing, this is very personal for our agency. … I had a lot of hope and plans for Justin. I saw him working his way up in this department very rapidly. … Justin was a bull in a china shop. … He had a presence that couldn’t be overlooked. He will be with us forever. And he will be truly missed.”
More than a dozen members of the Patriot Guard riders and American Legion appeared by the sheriff’s office Sunday afternoon to form a flag line in honor of DeRosier.
About 200 to 300 people, many of them connected to law enforcement, huddled at Martin Dock at Lake Sacajawea on Sunday evening to honor DeRosier. They sang “Amazing Grace” and remembered the deputy.
“I never met anyone who didn’t like him,” his uncle Layne DeRosier told a reporter, describing his nephew as someone who had a big personality who wanted to be an officer since watching “Cops” as a boy.
“He was a true hero, but he wouldn’t want anyone to call him that. (To him), it was his job. … Heaven is a much safer place with him in it,” he said, struggling to remain composed.
A 2012 graduate of Washington State University and a deputy since 2016, DeRosier is survived by his wife and young daughter.