KALAMA, WA (KPTV) – Several law enforcement agencies are looking for a gunman after a Cowlitz County deputy was killed Saturday night.
The deputy was identified Sunday as 29-year-old Justin DeRosier.
The Southwest Regional SWAT team is on a manhunt for the suspect or suspects in this case. FOX 12 was told there are multiple suspects and multiple persons of interest.
In an emotional press conference Sunday afternoon, the sheriff and undersheriff of Cowlitz County talked about Deputy DeRosier.
“There were few cops who want to be a cop more than Justin did,” said Cowlitz County Undersheriff Darren Ullmann. “He loved his job. He was incredibly good at it.”
The sheriff’s office says around 9:30 p.m. Saturday, DeRosier was dispatched to Fallert Road near Kalama River Road regarding a parking complaint and a disabled motorhome.
Soon after, over the radio, he said he was being shot at and had been hit.
After being LifeFlighted to a Vancouver hospital, DeRosier died in surgery, marking the first time in the sheriff’s office 165-year existence that a deputy has died in the line of duty.
“Justin left a beautiful wife and daughter, 5-month-old Lilly, who’s always going to know what an incredible man her father was,” Ullmann said.
Absolutely heartbreaking. @SheriffCowlitz Deputy Justin DeRosier was shot and killed last night in the line of duty. His wife, Katie, sent me these photos telling me, “He was one of a kind.” That’s his little girl. @fox12oregon pic.twitter.com/2Z8i74CboQ— Brenna Kelly (@BrennaKellyNews) April 15, 2019
Investigators say they’re following multiple leads, processing the crime scene, looking for several suspects, as well as searching a nearby home. The area where the shooting happened is closed to the public as deputies continue to investigate.
Fallert Rd. is still blocked off just after Whitney Rd. as the investigation continues into the deadly shooting of a @SheriffCowlitz deputy here last night. Investigators are asking people to avoid this area. We’ll have more information after a press conference at 2. pic.twitter.com/XzclZDVDce— Audrey Weil (@audreytweil) April 14, 2019
Meanwhile, the sheriff’s office is mourning the loss of one of their own.
“He will be with us forever and he will be truly missed,” Ullman said.
DeRosier grew up in Kelso and was a Kelso High School graduate. He joined the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office in May of 2016 and was in training to become a narcotics officer.
The sheriff's office has requested assistance from the Clark County Major Crimes Unit with the investigation.
Anyone who has more information related to the shooting is asked to call the Cowlitz County Dispatch Center at 360-577-3098.
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