Cowlitz County flags fly half-staff in honor of deputy killed on duty

The flag at Kelso High School flies half-staff on April 15, 2019 to honor Deputy Justin DeRosier who was killed while on duty on April 13, 2019. KATU photo

COWLITZ COUNTY, Wash. – The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office began flying flags at half-staff Monday in honor of Deputy Justin DeRosier who was killed on duty Saturday.

DeRosier was shot while responding to reports of a vehicle blocking a rural Cowlitz County road. He later died at a hospital.

The sheriff’s office identified his suspected killer Monday as 33-year-old Brian Butts.

Two Kelso police officers responded to a report of a suspicious subject Sunday night. The subject was armed, shots were fired, and the officers killed the suspect, according to Kelso Police Chief Andrew Hamilton.

A coroner later identified the subject as Butts.

Investigators linked Butts to DeRosier’s death by determining he was the person in possession of the motor home that DeRosier was responding to Saturday night.

Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman said this is the first line of duty death the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office has ever experienced in its 165 years of operations.

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