Suspect who killed WSP trooper faces charges

VIDEO: Trooper killed during high speed chase

William David Thompson, 39, who is accused of killing WSP Trooper Justin Schaffer Tuesday, will face charges.

Schaffer was laying spike strips on I-5 when the speeding robbery suspect, who was going more than 100 miles an hour, hit and killed him.

According to court documents, the suspect was ‘high or drunk’ -- when he hit Schaffer, as he put down spike strips on I-5. Investigators said they believe Thompson intentionally swerved into him.

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Schaffer was thrown 120 feet.

After hitting Schaffer, Thompson didn’t slow down. He swerved and hit a patrol car and hurt another trooper.

A couple of miles down I-5, Thompson lost control of his pickup and crashed into a light post. Officers fired smoke canisters into his truck. After a long standoff, they took him into custody.

"Under the circumstances, when you are actually dealing with a pursuit that’s in motion, any number of things can happen. And, unfortunately, something that we didn’t want to happen, happened,” said Washington State Patrol Chief John Batiste.

It all started, investigators said, with Thompson running from police after shoplifting and pulling a taser on a clerk in Thurston County.

Thompson faced a judge through video conference in Lewis County Superior Court on Wednesday.

Thompson faces 10 charges, including aggravated murder, robbery and assault.

Schaffer, 28, went to school in Lewis County, and began working for WSP in Nov. 2013. During his seven-year career, he was named a Drug Recognition Expert and became a certified K-9 handler to his partner, Frankie.

He’s the son of Chehalis Police Chief Glenn Schaffer.

Schaffer leaves behind his wife, his parents and his entire law enforcement family.

"We are crying with them today, tomorrow and the future. My heart is broken for the family and our prayers go out to them,” said Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza.

"We’re going to hug and support each other as family members. We are a family, this is a family and a family lost a brave family member,” said Chief Batiste.

Because of COVID-19 restrictions on public gatherings, details on Schaffer’s memorial service are still being worked out. The Washington State Patrol said they will work with his family and release more details in the days to come.

The Schaffer family has requested the WSP Memorial Foundation handle all monetary donations. One hundred percent of all of these donations will go directly to the family.

There are three ways the Schaffer family has approved making a donation.

1. Go into any Chase Bank branch and make a deposit into the “Washington State Patrol Memorial Foundation” account. “Schaffer Family Donation” should be noted on the check note line.

2. Using your own bank, you can log in online or through your mobile app and make a donation using Zelle. Donations can be sent to our WSPMF number, 360-597-4411, or email, and all donations received will be held for Sandra. There are no fees with using Zelle.

3. You can mail a check made out to WSPMF with “Schaffer Family Donation” on the note line to:


PO Box 7544

Olympia, WA 98507

Any flowers, cards or other items can be sent to or dropped off at the Chehalis WSP Office at 850 NW Louisiana Ave., Chehalis WA. 98532