A sheriff’s deputy in Washington state was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday evening in the city of Kittitas in a confrontation that also left a police officer wounded and a suspect dead.
Authorities identified the slain Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy as Ryan Thompson, 42. He was born and raised in Walla Walla and attended Central Washington University.
Authorities said the incident started when deputies were called to a report of a road rage incident in which the suspect was driving erratically in the Badger Pocket area of Kittitas County. The person in the other vehicle called police, officials said.
At about 7:45 p.m., deputies tried to stop the vehicle at the center of the report, but authorities said the driver failed to stop.
Deputies chased the suspect into the city of Kittitas. Investigators said the suspect got out of the vehicle when it stopped and exchanged gunfire with Thompson and a Kittitas police officer.
The deputy was shot and died from his injuries at Kittitas Valley Hospital, authorities said.
The Kittitas police officer, one of just three officers on the small town’s force, was also shot and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center. Officer Benito Chavez, 22, was in satisfactory condition Wednesday morning. Chavez was undergoing surgery Wednesday for a shattered femur, officials said.
He was sworn in as an officer in July. He and his wife are expecting a child, authorities said.
"Last night was the worst incident in my 45-plus years in law enforcement and something that a sheriff or police chief wishes would never ever happen during their watch," Kittitas County Sheriff Gene Dana said.
The suspect was also shot and was taken to Kittitas Valley Hospital. Ellensburg police told KIRO-TV he later died.
The fallen deputy started his career in law enforcement as a reserve Kittitas County deputy in 2004 and served as a corrections officer prior to becoming a Central Washington University police officer in 2007. He returned to the Sheriff's Office in 2013.
Thompson is survived by his wife and three children.
The Ellensburg Police Department will conduct the investigation into the shooting. Police said the suspect's name has not been released because he has not been positively identified by the coroner’s office.
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