deputy ryan thompson

Deputy Ryan Thompson representing Kittitas County at the Masters Marathon in Sanda City, Japan in December, 2008. Courtesy: www.co.kittitas.wa.us

ELLENSBURG, WA (AP) — U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement has confirmed that the man who shot and killed a Kittitas County Sheriff's deputy and wounded a Kittitas Police officer after an attempted traffic stop was in the U.S. illegally.

The Kittitas County Sheriff's deputy was identified as 42-year-old Ryan Thompson. The Kittitas police officer still recovering is identified as 22-year-old Benito Chavez. 

Ellensburg Police Capt. Dan Hansberry said Wednesday that the suspect, identified as 29-year-old Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro out of Ellensburg, died at a hospital. It has been confirmed by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement that Flores Del Toro, a citizen of Mexico, was unlawfully present in the United States. He entered April 11, 2014 through a Laredo, Texas Land Port of Entry on a Temporary Agricultural Worker (H-2A) visa. ICE has no record of Flores Del Toro leaving the U.S., nor extending his visa after it expired.

The Kittitas County Sheriff's Office says in a statement that deputies Tuesday night tried to stop a vehicle related to a driving complaint. The suspect fled, prompting a police pursuit.

The statement says the vehicle came to a stop and the suspect exited and exchanged gunfire with the Deputy Thompson and a Officer Chavez. Deputy Thompson was fatally shot. Officer Chavez suffered a gunshot to the leg, which shattered his femur, and was airlifted to a Seattle hospital.

Ryan Thompson / Benito Chavez Kittitas deadly OIS

Deputy Thompson was born and raised in Walla Walla and attended Walla Walla High School, playing football for the Wa-Hi Blue Devils. He attended and graduated from Central Washington University and had been an active member of the Kittitas community since 1999. He followed in his father's footsteps - his father being an officer in the Walla Walla area. Deputy Thompson started his career as a reserve deputy in 2004 and served as a corrections officer before becoming a police officer with CWU University Police Department in 2007. He returned to Kittitas County Sheriff's Office in December 2013. Deputy Thompson had fifteen years of experience on the force and leaves behind a wife and three children. 

Officer Benito Chavez started his career with Kittitas Police Department in July 2018 and graduated the Basic Law Enforcement Academy in January 2019. He has a wife and they are expecting their first child.

deputy ryan thompson 2

Donation accounts have been created at US Bank to help the families. People may make donations to US Bank to any of these three accounts:

• Thompson Memorial Fund
• Thompson Family Fund
• Chavez Family Fund

Donations may be made in person or a check may be mailed to any US Bank branch. To ensure funds are deposited into the correct account, please provide the teller with the name of the fund or indicate it on the memo line of the mailed check.

Family funds are for family expenses while the memorial fund is for funeral expenses. Any excess funds after the funeral service will be released to Deputy Thompson’s wife.

GoFundMes: Ryan Thompson Family FundHelp Officer Chavez

For more information, contact Jill Beedle, Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office at jill.beedle@co.kittitas.wa.us.

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