A Kittitas County deputy and a suspect were both killed, and a city of Kittitas police officer was injured, in a shooting Tuesday evening.
The fatally shot deputy was identified at a news conference in Ellensburg on Wednesday as 42-year-old Ryan Thompson.
Thompson is survived by his wife and three children, according to Sheriff Gene Dana, who called Tuesday his “worst day in 45 years” of law enforcement.
“Our community has a very heavy heart today, and last night we lost one of our finest,” Dana said.
The injured city of Kittitas police officer was identified as 22-year-old Benito Chavez. Chavez was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle around 11:30 p.m., where he was listed as being in satisfactory condition on Wednesday.
Chavez is married and his wife is expecting a child, Kittitas law-enforcement officials said.
Ellensburg police identified the suspect as Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, 29, of Ellensburg.
Deputies had been trying to stop a vehicle in the Badger Pocket area of Kittitas County after dispatchers received a call at about 7:30 p.m. about the suspect’s erratic driving and road-rage-like behavior, law enforcement officials said.
The driver, however, refused to stop and fled into the city of Kittitas, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
There, the vehicle stopped at the end of Pierce Street at 7:45 p.m. and in less than three minutes, the suspect had gotten out of the car and fired at the deputy and police officer, according to the Sheriff’s Office.
At the request of the Sheriff’s Office, the Ellensburg Police Department will investigate the shooting.
Ellensburg Police Chief Ken Wade said the grief among deputies and officers is enormous and has had a “tremendous impact on our law enforcement family, not only locally but across the nation.”
Other law-enforcement officers have shared condolences for the Kittitas deputy and officer. State Patrol Trooper Chris Thorson, a spokesman for the agency, tweeted Wednesday morning about the “gut-wrenching feeling” of texting a friend to see if he was the deputy who was killed.
Dana said Thompson was from Walla Walla, attended Central Washington University and first joined the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office in 2004 as a reserve officer.
He then worked stints as a corrections officer and a police officer at his alma mater before returning to the Sheriff’s Office full time in 2013.
It was the first fatal shooting of a law enforcement officer in the rural county in 92 years, Dana said.