Brian Butts may have been carrying two guns on the night authorities say he shot and killed Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier, according to transcribed police interviews The Daily News obtained Thursday under the state Open Records law.
The interviews with Matthew Veatch, a 25-year-old Kalama man, took place from about 3:15 a.m. to about 1:30 p.m. on April 14, the day DeRosier died, and during another hour on the afternoon of April 15.
In the interviews, Veatch describes to detectives how he led Butts through the woods while Butts was fleeing a law enforcement manhunt.
“I went, ‘Dude, what the ---- is goin’ on?’ He goes, ‘I shot that ------- cop,’” Veatch told the deputies, according to the transcripts.
Veatch is accused of helping Butts flee law enforcement after Butts shot Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier on the night of April 13, according to police accounts. He is charged with first-degree rendering of criminal assistance, a felony.
DeRosier, who was responding to a complaint of a motor home blocking the roadway near the 100 block of Fallert Road in Kalama, died the following morning from his injuries.
Police say Butts, 33, of Kalama was seen tromping out of the woods wet and dirty with a firearm on Spencer Creek Road that day. Butts fired at the officers, who returned fire and killed him, ending a nearly 22-hour manhunt for DeRosier’s killer, authorities say.
According to the interview transcripts, Veatch said he had invited some friends over for a campfire at the family house at 389 Fallert Road north of Kalama on the evening of the shooting. He was in his garage playing bass guitar when he heard what sounded like a gunshot, he said. His brother Michael Veatch showed up soon after, and Butts arrived there about 10 minutes later.
Butts “looked super freaked out and had said, ‘I have to get out of here,’ “ Veatch told the detectives.
Butts also appeared to be under the influence of some kind of drugs, although Veatch said he didn’t know what kind. (Butts was carrying a semi-automatic handgun and about 45 grams of suspected methamphetamine at the time of his death, the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said in late April.)
Butts told Veatch “get rid of this” and handed him a gun, which Veatch said he put in a gun cabinet. He said he noticed Butts had another gun in his pocket.
Veatch said it was an “instant reaction” to put the gun in the safe: “I figured that if I was racing him out of there that cops were going to show up at my house, and I didn’t want them finding it in some ———- weird spot, and then ripping the whole ———- house apart, which I have nothing else to hide.”
Veatch told detectives that he didn’t want Butts around, so he decided to lead him away from the house. After walking for a time in the woods, Veatch said he started to sober up (he drank a beer and smoked cannabis earlier that evening) and the two stopped to look around for a moment.
“I went, ‘Dude, what the —— is goin’ on?’ He goes, ‘I shot that ———- cop.’ I went, ‘Oh ——. Okay, so this — this is all bad. This is all bad.’ I went, ‘All right, this is definitely all bad.’ “
Veatch said he didn’t know Butts very well and had no idea why he would shoot DeRosier.
Veatch said he heard random gunshots going off nearby as they were walking, and the two decided to separate at a barn near Modrow Road.
“At that point, I just wanted to get him the —— separated away from me so I didn’t get shot and killed,” Veatch said. “I was tryin’ to get him away from my house. I didn’t want gunfire at my house, man.”