KELSO, Cowlitz County — In an outpouring of support for the family of slain Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier, two local coffee chains were flooded with customers Wednesday morning for a fundraiser.
The Dutch Bros and Red Leaf coffee shops said they would donate 20 percent of all Wednesday food and drink sales to the family. The line for the Kelso Red Leaf drive-through wrapped around both sides of the block at 9 a.m. One customer told The Daily News that the line had been that long since she was there at 7:30 a.m.
“It’s a terrible tragedy, but it’s great to see our community come together,” said Red Leaf customer Marc Silva of Kelso. “I knew everyone would come out to support. … Everyone loves coffee in the Northwest and something like this definitely brings everyone together and gives us a reason to go buy some coffee this morning.”
Many local business participated in fundraising efforts for the family this week. Copies Today in Kelso had given out nearly 10,000 “Back the Blue” stickers Tuesday to honor DeRosier.
Ridgefield resident Samantha Brown, whose husband is a Multnomah County sheriff’s deputy, said seeing the support from the community made her feel emotional.
“I always loved Red Leaf, so coming back here for this excuse is easy. It hits close to home. So of course I’m willing to come out here and support in any way I can,” she said.
Woodland resident Reggie Sheppard said he often spends part of his Wednesday at Red Leaf during a break from being a bus monitor for students with special needs. But he specifically visited the coffee shop this time to show support for the DeRosier family.
Sheppard, a retired Battle Ground police officer of 27 years, said his son is a police officer in Utah.
The Kelso City Council on Tuesday cleared much of its agenda to honor DeRosier, a lifelong Kelso resident who was killed in the line of duty on Saturday night.
“The outpouring of support from the law-enforcement community has been overwhelming. Officers from all over are trying to give us attention, soothe our wounds and help us in our time of need,” Kelso Police Chief Andy Hamilton told the council.
DeRosier was fatally shot while checking out reports of a disabled motorhome blocking a road three miles east of Interstate 5 at the north end of Kalama.
He was taken by a Life Flight helicopter to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver but died a short time after he arrived. He leaves a wife, Katie DeRosier, and a 5-month old daughter, Lily, his first child.
The shooting is the first in-line-of-duty death in the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office history, which stretches back to the mid-19th century.
The man suspected of killing DeRosier was shot and killed by police on Sunday night.
Many Kelso officers worked around the clock to help in the investigation and with the 22-hour manhunt for the suspect, Chief Andrew Hamilton said. In particular, Capt. Darr Kirk worked for 36 hours as part of the command staff, Hamilton said.
Kelso Sgt. Kevin Tate asked the council Tuesday night to consider additional measures to keep local officers safe, such as improving security in the police department building in City Hall and adding officers.
“Mostly what we need is for people to recognize that burnout is what’s going to change our culture,” Tate said. “We can only ask so much of (officers), for so many hours a day, for so many days in a row before it wears on them.”
Hamilton said the law-enforcement community is arranging a memorial service. It has not been scheduled but will likely occur next week, he said.