CHEHALIS, WA– On Tuesday afternoon, Trooper Justin Schaffer with the Washington State Patrol was struck and killed during a pursuit.
WSP Police Chief John Batiste said that Trooper Schaffer was along the I-5 freeway in Chehalis when he was hit by a fleeing motorist wanted out of nearby Thurston County for robbery.
Schaffer had been deploying spike strips when the suspect vehicle crashed into him. He was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center, where he later died of his injuries.
Schaffer was 28-years-old. He was with WSP for seven years and was a K-9 officer. Hi police dog, Frankie, was inside the vehicle at the time and did not suffer any injuries.
He was a husband to Sandra and the son of Sheila and Glenn, who was the longtime Police Chief of Chehalis Police Department. He also had a brother named Brandon.
It is with great sadness that we report the passing of Trooper Justin R. Schaffer, who died in the line of duty today. Justin passed away at the age of 28 after serving 7 years with WSP. This is a time of enormous grief for our agency, family and the community he served. pic.twitter.com/9YV6SgJUgN
— WA State Patrol (@wastatepatrol) March 25, 2020
Trooper Schaffer’s line of duty death was the 30th in WSP’s history.
The suspect was a 39-year-old man, William Thompson from Olympia, who had robbed a convenient store on Monday. According to police, the suspect tried to take lighter fluid from the Pacific Mini Mart at 9100 Pacific Ave SE in Lacey, WA.
The store clerk followed Thompson outside after he tried to leave without paying so that he could take the thief’s picture.
Before he could take a photo, Thompson produced a gun and pointed it at the clerk and another customer. He then got into a truck, drove it at the clerk, who jumped out of the way, and left.
Deputies spotted the suspect vehicle on Tuesday and initiated a pursuit. Trooper Schaffer entered the pursuit to assist and was unfortunately struck and killed by Thompson.
Thompson continued driving for three miles after hitting Schaffer, until he crashed into a barrier.
Thurston County deputies barricaded the suspect vehicle on I-5 and Thompson refused to exit the vehicle at first. SWAT units arrived and were able to talk him out of the truck and take him into custody.
WSP Trooper Justin Schaffer, killed in the line of duty today in Chehalis, was the son of longtime Chehalis PD Chief Glenn Schaffer. pic.twitter.com/7s4ecB6ABa
— Drew Mikkelsen (@drewmikkelsenk5) March 25, 2020
Thompson is facing charges of vehicular homicide, robbery, and several others.
During the brief press conference outside of the hospital, Chief Batiste said:
“We lost a great Trooper today.”
He also said that Trooper Schaffer had given a lot to hit community during his time at WSP.
Scaffer was born in Colorado and graduated high school in Washington. He had a criminal justice degree from Centralia College. He started his career with WSP as a Trooper Cadet. In 2016, he was certified as a Drug Recognition Expert and became a K9 Officer in 2018.
Rest In Peace Justin……..
We will take it from here. Thank you for your service.
— Trooper J. Sevigney (@wspd4pio) March 25, 2020
One thing to take into consideration during this time is the ban on large gatherings due to COVID-19 concerns. We all know that it is a huge honor to our fallen officers to get a large police funeral, but that may not be possible at this time.
WSP is going to be working with the family during this difficult time to determine how to best move forward to make sure Trooper Schaffer receives the honor he so deserves.
Please join us at Law Enforcement Today in praying for this officer, his wife, his parents, the community, and the rest of his blood and blue family.
Our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Trooper Justin Schaffer, and the Washington State Patrol family. He passed away today in the line-of-duty. #gonebutnotforgotten pic.twitter.com/YzHgekSKsi
— Bellevue, WA Police (@BvuePD) March 25, 2020
In honor of Washington State Trooper Justin Schaffer who tragically lost his life tonight in the line of duty. His family, loved ones and all our partners with Washington State Patrol are in our hearts and prayers tonight. #NeverForget pic.twitter.com/Vrlb82fNmY
— Snohomish Sheriff (@SnoCoSheriff) March 25, 2020
Unfortunately, this is not the only incident of an officer getting murdered while trying to end a pursuit. Law Enforcement Today brought you the story over the weekend.
She was only 33-years-old. And while trying to end a vehicle pursuit on Saturday, March 21, police say Officer Kaia Grant was murdered.
JUST IN: From @OhioAG on Officer Kaia Grant – “The void created by this officer’s sacrifice can never be filled and will never be forgotten … My deepest condolences are with the Springdale community.” – @wcpo pic.twitter.com/GFqNSfSkib
— Evan Millward (@EvanMillward) March 22, 2020
It happened at 8:30 p.m. in Springdale, Ohio. The chase started in a neighboring jurisdiction.
We are heartbroken. The Springdale PD has suffered an extreme loss. Officer Kaia Grant was killed in the line of duty tonight. Sgt. Davis was also injured. Please pray for the families, the PD, and all of the law enforcement, fire, dispatch, and medical personnel involved. pic.twitter.com/Q33E9XhQeD
— Greater Cincinnati Police & Fire Chaplain Services (@GCchaplains) March 22, 2020
Police said they tried to stop an armed, suicidal subject who then took off… leading them on a chase onto I-275.
That’s where Officer Grant and a police sergeant were getting ready to deploy stop sticks near State Route 4.
Police say the driver intentionally swerved toward them, hitting them both.
Officer Grant was flown to a local hospital. She did not survive.
The sergeant suffered non-life-threatening injuries.
Police said the suspect was arrested.
Officer Grant had served with the Springdale Police Department for eight years and leaves behind her parents.
Enough is enough.
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