'People are going to be brought to justice': Officials give update on shooting of deputy

Remembering Deputy DeRosier - photos courtesy Katie DeRosier

KELSO, Wash. – Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman along with other local law enforcement officials gave an update Monday after an on-duty deputy was shot and killed Saturday and officers shot and killed a suspect in the case Sunday.

“I’m happy to let the Cowlitz community know that we believe that those who committed and helped cover up the murder of Deputy Justin DeRosier have been found, though the investigation is ongoing,” Thurman said early on in the press conference.

Thurman said all suspects in the case are now accounted for and thanked the Clark County Major Crimes Team and the local SWAT for helping bring the investigation to the current resolution.

“We’re just glad that we’re able to let the community know that the danger is over and people are going to be brought to justice for this,” Thurman said.

Sunday night, at around 7 p.m., two Kelso Police Department officers responded to a report of a suspicious subject. Andrew Hamilton, chief of the Kelso Police Department, said the suspect was armed, shots were fired, and the officers killed the suspect.

Officials say the person killed Sunday night is the primary suspect involved in the investigation of DeRosier’s death. Officials have not yet released the person’s name.

Investigators also took two people into custody; they've been identified as Matthew and Michael Veatch. One was arrested at about 3 a.m. Sunday and the other was taken into custody later in the day.

Matthew Veatch faces a charge of first-degree rendering criminal assistance.

Michael Veatch was arrested on a warrant unrelated to the investigation.

Investigators have not revealed what, if any role, Matthew and Michael Veatch played in DeRosier’s death.

DeRosier was killed while responding to reports of a vehicle blocking a rural Cowlitz County road Saturday night. A short time after arriving on scene, DeRosier reported he’d been shot.

First responders extracted the deputy from the area and started life-saving efforts while bringing him to a waiting ambulance. DeRosier later died at the hospital.

DeRosier had been with the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office since May 1, 2016.

“He only had one speed and that was fast. He didn’t shuffle around. He always had a bounce in his step, always had a smile,” Thurman said. “He had a really bright future here It wouldn’t surprise me if someday he became sheriff himself.”

Thurman said memorial services for DeRosier are underway, but a date and time have not been set yet.

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

“We just don’t know how to do this and hope we don’t have to do it again,” he said.

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