• Kittitas County deputy killed, officer injured in shootout

    By: KIRO 7 News Staff

    Updated:

    KITTITAS, Wash. - A deputy with the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office was shot and killed in the line of duty Tuesday evening in the city of Kittitas. 

    Deputy Ryan Thompson was 42. Thompson was born and raised in Walla Walla and attended Central Washington University.

    Police identified the suspect as 29-year-old Ellensburg resident Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro. 

    On Thursday, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) confirmed that Toro was "unlawfully present in the United States." 

    ICE sent the following statement to KIRO 7:

    "Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, a citizen of Mexico, was unlawfully present in the United States. He entered the U.S. on April 11, 2014 through a Laredo, Texas Land Port of Entry on a Temporary Agricultural Worker (H-2A) visa. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) has no record of Flores Del Toro leaving the U.S., nor extending his visa after it expired."

    Authorities said the incident started when deputies were called to a report of a road rage incident in which the suspect was driving erractically in regards to another vehicle in the Badger Pocket area of Kittitas County. The party in the other vehicle called police.

    At about 7:45 p.m., deputies tried to stop the vehicle involved but the driver failed to stop. 

    Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro
    Dept. of Homeland Security

    Deputies chased the suspect into the city of Kittitas. Investigators said when the vehicle stopped, the suspect got out and exchanged gunfire with deputy Thompson and a Kittitas police officer. 

    The deputy was shot and died from injuries at Kittitas Valley Hospital.  

    The Kittitas officer was also shot and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, where he was in satisfactory condition as of Wednesday morning. Officer Benito Chavez, 22, was sworn into office with the department in July and graduated the Basic Law Enforcement Academy in January 2019.He is married and his wife is expecting a child.  The police force in the small town consists of three officers.

    Chavez was undergoing surgery for a shattered femur Wednesday, authorities said at a Wednesday news conference.

    "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 7 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. 

    Anyone with information about the road rage incident or any events leading up to the shootout is asked to contact the Ellensburg Police Department at 509-962-7280.

    To donate to the family support accounts set up for Deputy Thompson and Officer Chavez, go to this link

     


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