(KITTITAS, Wash.) — A Washington state sheriff’s deputy was gunned down and another officer was injured Tuesday night in what the sheriff called the “worst incident in my 45-plus years in law enforcement.”
Kittitas County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Thompson, 42, a Washington state native, leaves behind a wife and three children, Sheriff Ryan Dana said at a news conference Wednesday.
Kittitas County, about 90 minutes east of Seattle, is a low-crime rate county. The last fatal officer involved shooting was 92 years ago, Dana said.
The Kittitas Police Department is an agency of three, including the chief. The department relies on state patrol, Ellensburg police and the sheriff’s office for help, Kittitas Police Chief Chris Taylor said.
Authorities on Tuesday responded to a “road rage event.” When the suspect refused to stop, officers pursued the suspect into the small city of Kittitas, officials said.
The suspect then stopped his car, got out and exchanged gunfire with Thompson and Kittitas police officer Benito Chavez, the sheriff’s office said.
Thompson was shot and killed.
Chavez, 22, who was sworn in in July, was also shot and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle where he underwent surgery, officials said.
Chavez and his wife are expecting their first child, authorities said.
The suspect, whose name was not released, was shot and has died, said Ellensburg Police Chief Ken Wade.
The shooting led to an outpouring of sympathy from law enforcement departments throughout the state and country.
Thirteen law enforcement officers died in gun-related incidents this year — down from 18 over the same time period last year, according to the National Law Enforcement Memorial Fund.
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