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Walla Walla native killed in the line of duty in Kittitas

Press Release from Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office

ELLENSBURG, Washington — Last night’s officer-involved shooting claimed the life of Kittitas County Sheriff Deputy Ryan Thompson. Kittitas Police Officer Benito Chavez was wounded in the shooting and is currently at Harborview Medical Center.

Deputy Thompson was 42 years old. He was born and raised in Walla Walla and graduated from Central Washington University. He started his career as a reserve deputy in 2004 and served as a corrections officer prior to becoming a police officer with Central Washington University Police Department in 2007.

He returned to the Sheriff’s Office in December 2013, where he proudly served the citizens of this county.

He was a great officer and family man. He leaves behind a wife and three children. Our hearts and prayers go out to his family and friends.

Officer Chavez, 22, started his career with Kittitas Police Department in July 2018 and graduated the Basic Law Enforcement Academy in January 2019.

The Sheriff’s Office would like to thank all the responding officers, EMS, and all the hospital personnel.

Our community has a heavy heart today. Last night we lost one of our finest.

On Tuesday, March 19, at approximately 7:37 p.m. the Kittitas County Sheriff’s Office was dispatched to a driving complaint in the Badger Pocket area of Kittitas County.

At 7:42 p.m., deputies attempted to stop a vehicle related to the driving complaint. The suspect failed to stop, resulting in a pursuit into the City of Kittitas.

The vehicle came to a stop at the end of Pierce Street in Kittitas. The suspect exited the vehicle and exchanged gunfire with a Kittitas County Sheriff’s Deputy and a Kittitas Police Officer. The deputy received a fatal gunshot wound and was pronounced dead at Kittitas Valley Hospital (KVH).

The Kittitas Police Officer suffered a gunshot wound and has been airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Additional responding officers arrived on scene. The suspect was also shot and is being treated at KVH.  The Ellensburg Police confirmed the suspect later died.

The Kittitas County Sheriff’s office requested the Ellensburg Police Department to conduct the investigation into the incident.

Late Tuesday afternoon, the Ellensburg Police Department released the identity of the suspect as 29 year old Ellensburg resident, Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro.

Donation accounts have been created at US Bank to help the families of the two Kittitas officers involved in yesterday’s shooting that claimed the life of Kittitas County Deputy Ryan Thompson and wounded Kittitas Police Officer Benito Chavez.

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.

Kittitas County, from the Cascades to the Columbia, and online at


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