Last week the law enforcement community was shaken when a Mexican citizen opened fire on police officers in Kittitas County — killing one and injuring another.
Deputy Ryan Thompson, 42, was killed and Kittitas Police Officer Benito “Kellyn” Chavez, 22, was injured in the shooting that began with a report of a road rage incident and led to a chase and shootout in Kittitas.
The suspect, Manuel Flores Del Toro, 29, died at a hospital after being wounded in the exchange of gunfire.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) said Flores Del Toro was illegally in the country. He entered April 11, 2014, through Laredo, Texas, on a temporary agricultural worker (H-2A) visa. ICE said it had no record of Flores Del Toro leaving the United States norextending his visa after it expired.
According to the Officer Down Memorial Page — a website devoted to “remembering all of law enforcement’s heroes” — there have been 26 officers killed in the U.S. in the line of duty this year: 10 in January, 11 in February and five so far in March.
Thompson is the first (and hopefully the last) one in Washington state this year.
Officers from every agency — be it city, county, state, FBI, ATF, etc. — shouldn’t have to go to work every day in fear, wondering if they will be killed for simply doing their job: Protecting and serving.
Sometimes it can be hard to look beyond the badge. But underneath the uniform is a person with a family — usually with children, a spouse and friends.
Yes, in some rare cases there are some police officers who probably shouldn’t be carrying a loaded firearm. But the vast majority of our men and women in uniform are throughly trained, honest and well-respected human beings. We believe Mr. Thompson was one of those men.
The Chronicle staffs sends thoughts and prayers to his family.