Procession takes fallen Cowlitz County Deputy home from Vancouver

Law enforcement from across the area paid their respects to Justin DeRosier who was killed in the line of duty on Saturday

VANCOUVER — NOTE: This story has been updated to correct the city Deputy DeRosier was taken to from Kalama to Kelso. We regret the error.

Law enforcement from across Southwest Washington gathered Monday afternoon to accompany the body of fallen Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier from Vancouver to Kelso, where he will be laid to rest.

A Clark County Fire and Rescue ladder truck holds an American Flag above the La Center I-5 overpass to show support for Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier. Photo by Mike Schultz
A Clark County Fire and Rescue ladder truck holds an American Flag above the La Center I-5 overpass to show support for Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier. Photo by Mike Schultz
Deputy Justin DeRosier leaves behind a wife and 5-month old daughter, Lily. Photo courtesy Katie DeRosier
Deputy Justin DeRosier leaves behind a wife and 5-month old daughter, Lily. Photo courtesy Katie DeRosier

Hundreds of people, including police and fire agencies from Clark County, lined freeway overpasses along I-5 to show their respect and support for DeRosier. The 29-year old was rushed to PeaceHealth Southwest in Vancouver on Saturday night after he was shot while checking on a disabled vehicle on Fallert Road, northeast of Kalama. He died from his injuries shortly after arriving at the hospital.

DeRosier grew up in Cowlitz County and joined the Sheriff’s office in 2016. He is believed to be the first on-duty death in the history of the department, dating back to the mid-19th century. He leaves behind a wife and 5-month old daughter. The investigation into his death is being led by the Clark County Regional Major Crimes Unit.

“Most of us have known him most of his life,” a visibly emotional Cowlitz County Undersheriff Darren Ullmann told The Daily News of Longview. “There were few cops who want to be a cop more than Justin did. He loved his job. He was incredibly good at it. And as you can imagine, as I’m obviously showing, this is very personal for our agency.”

Clark County Sheriff’s vehicles lead a procession from Vancouver to Kalama for fallen Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier. Photo by Mike Schultz
Clark County Sheriff’s vehicles lead a procession from Vancouver to Kalama for fallen Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier. Photo by Mike Schultz

In a tweet on Sunday, Washington Governor Jay Inslee said, “our hearts go out to the family of the Cowlitz County deputy killed in the line of duty last night. Every one of these tragedies is a reminder that these men and women put their lives on the line every day in service to us all.”

On Sunday a standoff with the suspect in DeRosier’s shooting was shot and killed during a standoff with law enforcement. He was identified Monday as 33-year-old Brian Dellaann Butts of Longview. Butts is the half-brother of Daniel Butts, who recently pleaded guilty in the 2011 shooting of Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter. The two share the same mother but have different fathers. In addition to being half-brothers, they are also cousins, as their fathers are brothers. The investigation into the death of Butts is being led by the Vancouver Police Department.

An American Flag is suspended from a Clark County Fire and Rescue ladder truck on the La Center overpass as a procession for fallen Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier passes on the freeway below. Photo by Mike Schultz
An American Flag is suspended from a Clark County Fire and Rescue ladder truck on the La Center overpass as a procession for fallen Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier passes on the freeway below. Photo by Mike Schultz
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