Officers kill suspect in Cowlitz County deputy's fatal shooting

KALAMA, Wash. — Two police officers fatally shot the suspect in the killing of a Cowlitz County sheriff's deputy after the man was seen running out of the woods with a firearm Sunday night, ending a nearly daylong search, authorities said.

The suspect was identified as Brian Dellaann Butts, 33.

The deputy, 29-year-old Justin DeRosier from Kelso, was shot at 10:11 p.m. Saturday while examining a motorhome that was blocking part of Fallert Road.

"Over the radio he announced that he was being shot at," said Sheriff Brad Thurman, "and been hit."

Several officers and deputies responded. He was airlifted to PeaceHealth Medical Center in Vancouver where he later died during surgery. DeRosier died early Sunday morning before his wife and parents could arrive.

"But they were able to spend some time with him shortly thereafter," he said.

At a Monday afternoon news conference, authorities said two men, brothers Michael and Matthew Veatch, were arrested in the matter, but did not give further details about their involvement. Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman also did not elaborate in another news briefing Monday afternoon.

Matthew Veatch was arrested on charges of rendering criminal assistance. Michael Veatch was arrested for an outstanding warrant from the Washington Department of Corrections.

In court documents, police said Matthew Veatch was given a handgun by Butts to "get rid of," and that Butts had been hiding in bushes at a Veatch residence. Matthew Veatch admitted to leading Butts through the dark wood for several hours to an abandoned barn, but when initially contacted said he didn't know where Butts was, according to court documents.




Deputy DeRosier graduated from Kelso High School in 2008, got his degree at Washington State University four years later. He was made a Cowlitz County Sheriff's deputy just three years ago.

"He loved his job," said Cowlitz County Undersheriff Darren Ullman, fighting back tears. "He was incredibly good at it."

The deputy is from a prominent Cowlitz County family. His grandmother was the longtime county auditor; his family owns DeRosier Trucking. Getting on with the sheriff was a kind of homecoming. He was to begin training in July to become a part of the drug task force.

Undersheriff Ullman said he watched as DeRosier grew into a deputy devoted to his chosen career.

"He had that presence that couldn't be overlooked," said Ullman. "And he will be with us forever. And he'll be truly missed."

This community is already rallying around DeRosier's family. An online meal train has been set up and the organization 'Behind the Badge' is helping plan his funeral.

DeRosier became a father for the first time in October. His 5-month-old daughter, Lily, and his wife are among the many loved ones he leaves behind.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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