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Alleged illegal gun dealer arrested in ATF case; sold gun that killed DeRosier, police say

Back the Blue Community Walk

Bundles of tulips surround a donation box for the family of slain Cowlitz County Sheriff's Deputy Justin DeRosier at a community Back the Blue walk in 2019 at Lake Sacajawea.

A local and federal investigation led to the arrest of a Cathlamet man Wednesday for suspicion of illegally selling and manufacturing firearms, including the one that killed a Cowlitz County deputy in 2019.

Trevor Batchelor, 54, was arrested in the 900 block of Columbia Street in Cathlamet after agents from the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives found hundreds of items used to manufacture firearms inside his residence, according to Longview police. Batchelor also admitted to illegally selling firearms without background checks, and police caught him in the act, according to Longview officers.

History

Batchelor has a long history of illegal gun use, police say.

ATF agents were aware Batchelor was illegally selling firearms in 2018. ATF told Batchelor to stop dealing firearms without a license that year, after his colleague was arrested for the same alleged crime, according to Longview police.

The next year, Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier was fatally shot in Kalama and his suspected killer Brian Butts was fatally shot by officers about 22 hours later. Police found that the Smith & Wesson 9 mm pistol on Butts was used to kill DeRosier, and later found Batchelor purchased the firearm at a local gun store in 2017. Police say Butts was a convicted felon and could not legally purchase firearms from businesses so he likely had to buy them underground.

Officers say Batchelor told Longview police in 2019 he sold the firearm used in DeRosier’s death to a local pawn shop prior to the shooting, which turned out to be false. He later admitted to selling guns without background checks, but couldn’t remember who purchased the firearms, according to police.

In 2020, a police source started helping Batchelor sell guns, including an untraceable firearm without serial numbers, and without performing background checks, police say. Police say Batchelor knew one purchaser could not legally buy firearms before the transaction.

The Longview Police Street Crimes Unit issued the warrant to search Batchelor’s residence and the Lower Columbia SWAT team served the document Wednesday, which led to ATF’s findings of firearm manufacturing evidence, police say.

Records show Batchelor was released from Cowlitz County Jail Thursday. His arraignment in Cowlitz County Superior Court is scheduled for Dec. 2 on the suspected charges of the unlawful manufacture of an untraceable firearm with the intent to sell; knowing and recklessly allowing the assembly or manufacturing by persons ineligible to possess; and failure to use a dealer to facilitate the transfer between two private parties.

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