Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro was identified as the suspect who fatally shot a Washington sheriff’s deputy and wounded a police officer.
Kittitas County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Thompson was killed and Ellensburg police officer Benito Chavez was injured after they tried to pull Del Toro over after a road rage incident, KING News reported.
Del Toro got out of his car and began firing at Thompson and Chavez, police said.
Del Toro was shot and taken to a local hospital where he died. Thompson suffered a fatal wound and was pronounced dead at Kittitas Valley Hospital. Chavez suffered a shattered femur but is recovering at the hospital following surgery.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro Shot Ryan Thompson & Benito Chavez, Police Say
Police say Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, a 29-year-old resident of Ellensburg, was reported to 911 at around 7:30 pm Tuesday because he was driving erratically and displaying “road rage” behavior, The Seattle Times reported.
Thompson tried to pull over the vehicle but Del Toro sped away and Chavez joined the chase.
At around 7:45, Del Toro turned into a trailer park before getting out of the car and opening fire on Thompson and Chavez.
“I heard the shots,” said Irma Serrano, a resident at the trailer park. “A guy was shot in the leg. He was screaming.”
All three men involved in the shootout suffered gunshot wounds. Thompson and Del Toro suffered fatal wounds.
2. Ryan Thompson Was Killed in the Shootout
Thompson, 42, was pronounced dead at Kittitas Valley Hospital.
Thompson grew up in nearby Walla Walla and attended Central Washington University.
He is survived by his wife and three children.
Thompson joined the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office in 2004 as a reserve officer before working as a corrections officer and a police officer at Central Washington University. He returned to the sheriff’s office full time in 2013.
3. Benito Chavez Suffered a Shattered Femur & Required Surgery
Chavez, 22, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle and underwent surgery to repair the shattered femur he suffered in the shootout.
He was listed in satisfactory condition Wednesday.
Chavez and his wife are expecting a child, The Seattle Times reported.
The Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office has set up donation accounts to help the families of Chavez and Chavez.
4. Thompson Was the First Kittitas County Depuy to Be Killed in 92 Years
Thompson’s death marked the first time a law enforcement officer in rural Kittitas County was killed in 92 years.
The town of Kittitas is home to 1,500 residents and boasts that it is “without the crime, noise, traffic jams and pollution of larger cities.”
“For this to happen here? It’s insane. You don’t get that here,” Ellensburg High School senior Ethan Keaton told The Times.
“Maybe you get pulled over for a DUI or speeding. You don’t get people shot here,” added 20-year-old resident Josh Dunn. “I don’t even have a word for it.”
“I deliberately chose this place. It’s very safe. It was somewhere where you could carve out your little section of the American dream,” said city council member Liz Smith. “This is a community where kids still ride their bikes up and down the road, and you have Fourth of July fireworks and picnics. I always compare it to the ‘Wonder Years.’ ”
“I feel very sad. I don’t want this to become how people think of Kittitas. There are a thousand of beautiful moments in this community,” she added.
5. GoFundMe Launched to Help Thompson’s Family
Matthew Jay Stroe, director of security at Whitman College in Walla Walla, has set up a GoFundMe account to raise money for Thompson’s family. The campaign has already exceeded its $10,000 goal with over $33,000 in donations as of Thursday afternoon.
“Ryan Thompson was a loving family man, friend, coworker, brother, uncle, son, husband, and servant to his community,” the page says. “He gave his life in the line of duty, protecting the community and those he loved. His spirit and love for life were bigger than his size. He was truly a giant among men and will leave a void that will be hard to fill. The money raised will go to the family of Ryan Thompson and help them in their time of need. If enough is raised it can be set aside in a fund for his children’s education and this will be a declaration to them about their father; and the man he was.”