Man who killed Kittitas Co. deputy was in US illegally

ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- The federal government says the man who killed a Kittitas County sheriff's deputy, wounded a Kittitas police officer and died in a central Washington state shootout was in the United States illegally.

The U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency said Thursday that 29-year-old Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro was a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States in 2014 at Laredo, Texas, on a temporary agricultural worker visa.

The agency says it has no record of Flores Del Toro leaving the country or extending his visa.

Meanwhile, police said Thursday they were still investigating the suspect's background and why he led the officers on a chase before the gunbattle.

Ellensburg Police Capt. Dan Hansberry said Flores Del Toro lived in Ellensburg.

Flores Del Toro died in a hospital a short time after the Tuesday evening gunbattle.

Investigators do not know why Flores Del Toro fled, and there were no warrants pending for his arrest, Hansberry said.

Police in the past "had limited contacts with him," but Hansberry described them as "nothing of real significance" without providing further details.

Officers had tried to stop Flores Del Toro's vehicle after they received a complaint about the motorist's driving that authorities have described as a "road-rage type event" without disclosing more details.

Police chased Flores Del Toro's car, which stopped in a house trailer park near Kittitas, about 5 miles from Ellensburg. Flores Del Toro got out of the vehicle and used a handgun to exchange gunfire with officers, Hansberry said.

Sheriff's deputy Ryan Thompson was killed in the Tuesday gunfight. He was married with three children.

Kittitas police officer Benito Chavez was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle after the shooting and is now recovering from a gunshot that fractured his femur.

Accounts have been set up at US Bank to help the officers' 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.

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