Road rage suspect kills Washington state deputy in gun fight

This undated photo released by the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office shows Deputy Ryan Thompson. Thompson, 42, was shot and killed and a police officer was wounded after they exchanged gunfire with a road rage driving suspect Tuesday, March 19, 2019, authorities said Wednesday, March, 20, 2019. The events unfolded Tuesday evening when the two officers tried to stop the suspect's vehicle after authorities received a complaint about the motorist's driving, authorities said. (Kittitas County Sheriff's Office via AP)

NICHOLAS K. GERANIOS,  Associated Press  SPOKANE, Wash. (AP) 03/20 — A sheriff’s deputy was killed in central Washington state and a police officer was shot and wounded after they exchanged gunfire with a road rage driving suspect, authorities said Wednesday. The driver was also shot and later died at a hospital.

The events unfolded Tuesday evening when the two officers tried to stop the suspect’s vehicle after authorities received a complaint about the motorist’s driving, said Ellensburg Police Chief Ken Wade.

Fire and law enforcement officials join others in saluting as the body of a Kittitas County Sheriff’s deputy draped with a U.S. flag is carried out of Kittitas Valley Healthcare Hospital, in the early morning hours of Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Ellensburg, Wash. A Kittitas County Sheriff’s deputy was killed and a police officer was injured after an exchange of gunfire during an attempted traffic stop. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren)

 

The suspect, who has not been identified*, was chased by police until the driver stopped the car near the town of Kittitas. He got out and exchanged gunfire with the sheriff’s deputy and the police officer, Wade said.

“It was reported as a road-rage type event, with erratic driving on the part of the suspect,” said Wade, whose office is investigating the incident.

Sheriff’s deputy Ryan Thompson, 42, was killed and Kittitas police officer Benito Chavez, 22, was shot in the leg and suffered a shattered femur, Wade said.

The suspect died at a hospital and Wade said authorities were still trying to identify him. Authorities did not provide information about how many times he was shot and Wade said he did not know how many shots were fired overall by the officers and the suspect.

Ellensburg Police Chief Ken Wade, center, talks to reporters as Kittitas County Sheriff Gene Dana, left, and Kittitas Police Chief Chris Taylor, right, look on during a news conference, Wednesday, March 20, 2019, in Ellensburg, Wash. Wade was talking about the death of Deputy Ryan Thompson, who was killed Tuesday evening when he and a Kittitas Police officer exchanged gunfire with a road-rage driving suspect in Kittitas, Wash. The driver of the vehicle was also shot and later died at a hospital. (Jake Green/The Daily Record via AP)

 

Thompson had been a law enforcement officer for years, joined the sheriff’s department in 2013 and is survived by his wife and three children, said Kittitas County Sheriff Gene Dana.

“Our community has a very heavy heart today,” Dana told reporters. “This officer was a great officer.”

It was the first fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer in the rural county in 92 years, he said.

Wade said authorities have no other information besides the road rage incident for what might have prompted the suspect to flee and exchange gunfire with the officers.

https://www.apnews.com/3e0e768180eb4e92875b5fe2454184f6

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

*KXLY.com reported that the suspect has been identified as Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, 29-year-old, of Ellensburg, by the Ellensburg Police Department.

https://www.kxly.com

Posted in: Attacks on Police, Crime & Criminals, Deaths, Injuries, Line-of-Duty Deaths, Police Officers Shot, Road Rage, Shootouts

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