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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About The Author

Chris Brown comes to Clark County Today with 15 years of local news experience as a reporter, editor, and anchor at KXL News Radio and KOIN-6 TV in Portland. In 2016, he won an Oregon Association of Broadcaster's award for Best Investigative Reporting for a series on America's Violent Youth. He has also been awarded by the Associated Press for Best Breaking News coverage as editor of Portland's Morning News following the 2015 school shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Oregon. The second oldest of eight home-schooled children, Brown graduated from high school two years early. After several odd jobs, he earned an internship at KXL Radio, eventually working his way into a full-time job. Brown has lived in Clark County his entire life, and is very excited at the opportunity to now focus full-time on the significant stories happening in his own back yard, rather than across “the river.’’ After a few years in Vancouver, he recently moved back to Battle Ground with his wife and two young daughters. When he's not working to report what's happening in Clark County, Brown enjoys spending time with his family, playing music, taking pictures, or working in the yard. He also actually does enjoy long walks on the beach, and sunsets.

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