LONGVIEW, Wash. — Authorities have identified the man who died in an officer-involved shooting Sunday night as Brian Dee Butts, of Longview.
Butts, 33, is believed to have shot and killed Deputy Justin DeRosier Saturday night along Fallert Road in Kalama.
Butts is the brother of Daniel Armaugh Butts, who recently was handed a life sentence with a minimum of nearly 49 years in Oregon prison for the fatal shooting of Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter in January 2011.
If further investigation confirms that Brian Butts killed DeRosier, it will mean the two brothers will have been responsible for the only on-duty police killings in the local area in more than 70 years.
Brian Butts has a lengthy criminal history.
In other developments in the DeRosier shooting, Cowlitz County Superior Court Judge Michael Evans on Monday found probable cause to hold Matthew Veatch, 25, who is suspected of aiding Butts in his escape from law enforcement after the shooting.
Veatch and his brother, Michael Thomas Veatch, 33, both of Kalama, were arrested by Longview police on Sunday after being interviewed by investigators: Matthew Veatch on suspicion of first-degree rendering of criminal assistance, and Michael Veatch for an outstanding warrant.
Cowlitz County Prosecutor Ryan Jurvakainen told The Daily News that his office had not filed any charges linking Michael Veatch to the shooting as of Monday afternoon.
But Matthew Veatch told Longview police that Butts showed up at his Fallert Road residence several minutes after he heard what sounded like a gunshot the night of DeRosier’s death, according to court documents. Butts “appeared dirty and stated he needed to get out of there,” and he gave Veatch a handgun to “get rid of.”
Matthew Veatch put the gun in a locked gun cabinet in his room, he told officers, and led Butts on foot through the dark woods for several hours. Along the way, Butts told Matthew Veatch he shot a cop, according to court documents.
Matthew Veatch eventually led him to an abandoned barn, where the two separated.
At a press conference at noon Monday, Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman said Kelso police officers shot and killed a suspect, now identified as Butts, on Sunday night along Spencer Creek Road.
“We believe those who committed and helped cover up the murder of (DeRosier) have been found, though the investigation is ongoing,” Thurman said. “I believe any threat to the community is over.”
Thurman commended the Kelso officers who engaged with Butts on Sunday night, and said that while law enforcement is relieved the threat is gone, the ideal outcome is always to bring a suspect to justice through the courts.
“Not only have we been robbed of (DeRosier), but we’ve been robbed of finding answers of why from the suspect,” Thurman said.