KELSO, Wash. – Not only is the law enforcement community across the Pacific Northwest mourning the loss of deputy DeRosier, his hometown is also reeling from his death.
While not everyone in the area was ready to talk about their loss, there are signs across the region expressing gratitude for a man who laid down his life protecting his community.
“I think the whole community is hurting,” said Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman during a Monday press conference.
For those who knew 29-year-old deputy Justin DeRosier, they say he had law enforcement running in his blood – and that being a cop, helping others, was exactly what he wanted to do.
“We’re all grieving together,” Thurman added.
Grief and gratitude could be seen across the Longview and Kelso area. It showed up on store signs, in hand-written letters and notes left at the county hall of justice.
Even in the small town of Kalama, near the fatal shooting that took DeRosier’s life, the police station flew an American flag at half-staff. So did Kelso High School, where the deputy graduated.
DeRosier’s death left an impact even on those who never met him.
“Justin went to the same high school that my kids did,” said Wayne Rogers.
Rogers dropped off a bouquet of flowers at the growing memorial at the sheriff’s office Monday. He added that losing DeRosier would leave a wound that even time may never heal.
“I drive by here every day and that’s what’s going to come to my head,” he said.
The Behind the Badge Foundation is working with the sheriff’s office and the DeRosier family to plan a memorial in his honor.