Sheriff's office identifies man suspected of shooting, killing Cowlitz County deputy

Brian Butts - photo courtesy Washington Department of Corrections, from 2017

KELSO, Wash. – The Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office identified the man shot and killed by Kelso police officers Sunday night as 33-year-old Brian Dellaann Butts, of Longview.

Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman says they believe Butts shot Deputy Justin DeRosier Saturday night.

KATU News confirmed Brian Butts is the half-brother of Daniel Butts, the man who pleaded guilty in March to killing Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter in 2011.

Sunday night, at around 7 p.m., two Kelso Police Department officers responded to a report of a suspicious subject.

"The guy came down through the trees from the other side with this black hoodie and he was carrying a fanny pack over his shoulder, and he had his head down - not trying to look at us on the other side of the road," said Ray Lindsey, who says his son called 911.

Andrew Hamilton, chief of the Kelso Police Department, said the suspect was armed, shots were fired, and the officers killed the suspect. Monday, a coroner identified the person as Butts.

The two officers involved in the shooting are Rich Fletcher and Detective Tim Gower. They’ve worked for the Kelso Police Department for 24 years. As is department policy, both officers were placed on paid administrative leave.

Investigators believe Butts shot and killed Deputy DeRosier while he responded to reports of a vehicle blocking a road in rural Cowlitz County Saturday night.

The motorhome involved in the initial call DeRosier responded to was registered to Brian Butts’ mother. She told investigators that Brian Butts was in possession of the motor home at the time DeRosier was killed.

Thurman told KATU News the initial parking complaint is a low-priority call for the Sheriff's Office. Usually, only one deputy responds.

"It's the type of call we deal with on a daily basis, low-priority, low-risk, it goes to tell you - you never know what you're going to face out there," he said.

Officials said memorial services for DeRosier are still being planned. The organization, Behind the Badge, is helping with those arrangements.

Law enforcement agents also took two other men into custody in connection to the case; they've been identified as Matthew and Michael Veatch.

Sheriff Brad Thurman said he believes at least one of the Veatch brothers is an acquaintance of Butts.

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

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

Brian Butts has a lengthy criminal history. He's been arrested nine times previously, according to the Washington Department of Corrections. His first recorded arrest was March 28, 2015 for a second-degree robbery charge. He's faced multiple charges including possession of controlled substances, assault, obstructing law enforcement, hit-and-run, driving with a suspended license and possession of marijuana.

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