A Washington State Patrol trooper shot in the face while on duty in Walla Walla Thursday evening drove himself to the hospital before being airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the Patrol.
Trooper Dean Atkinson, 28, and a five-year veteran of the force, remains in the intensive-care unit, a Harborview spokesperson said Friday afternoon.
“This evening we were once again reminded of how dangerous the profession of law enforcement can be,” WSP Chief John R. Batiste said Thursday in a statement. “We were also reminded of how strong and resolute our people can be when Trooper Dean Atkinson, though seriously injured, found the strength to drive himself to the hospital.”
Brandon D. O’Neel, 37, was charged Friday with first-degree attempted murder with a firearm, first-degree assault with a firearm and attempting to elude with a firearm, the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin reported.
According to the Patrol, the shooting occurred around 5:20 p.m. on West Poplar Street near Avery Street in Walla Walla.
Just minutes after the shooting, officers in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, attempted to stop a vehicle matching the description of the car driven by the shooter, police said.
Local officers responded and were involved in a short chase, police said.
O’Neel, who was being evicted on Thursday, had left a note in his home reading, “evict me and I will execute any cop or manager you send period,” according to court documents.
The Walla Walla newspaper reported that O’Neel allegedly fired a gun at Atkinson, who was driving a marked white police car, three to four times, according to the probable cause affidavit. Atkinson drove himself to a Walla Walla hospital.
O’Neel is being held in the Walla Walla County Jail on $1 million bail, according to the Union-Bulletin.