Kalama Police officer Jeff Skeie and another officer responded to help Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier when he was fatally shot Sunday night. His Facebook post about the experience had 7,500 reactions, 2,200 shares and more than 1,300 comments by midafternoon Wednesday. The Daily News is publishing it here, with minor edits, because it offers insights into the emotional trauma officers face in such circumstances.
To all my friends and family.
I had the worst night of my career Saturday night. Deputy Justin DeRosier calling “shots fired” and “I’m hit” has changed my life, and the lives of so many people, for a very long time. Some, forever.
Kalama Police Sgt. Steve Parker and I both responded as the closest available units to help. I arrived less than a minute after Steve. To see Justin on his knees was heartbreaking. Justin was able to help us get him into my patrol car so I could bring him to the ambulance, which was waiting a distance away.
Steve Parker acted with selfless bravery that night. Knowing a shooter was nearby and had already shot one officer, he volunteered to stay behind and provide needed cover while I brought Justin to a safe location.
Justin DeRosier acted in such a heroic way, I can only hope to live up to his actions should that ever be required of me. Justin wanted Steve and me to be sure to take care of his rifle, which was lying on the ground in front of him. He didn’t want it in the wrong hands. While I was driving Justin to the ambulance, he had the presence of mind to calmly give me a description of the shooter, providing as much information as he could.
I knew Justin was hurt bad, but I didn’t expect the horrible and senseless outcome of Justin’s death. These memories will be with me the rest of my life.
The outpouring of help and the quick response from outside agencies was nothing less than remarkable. So many officers responded to help. They can never be thanked enough.
So many friends and family have been contacting me these past couple days, and I’m overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support. It’s been a horrible couple of days, but I can honestly say that it would have been so much worse without you.
I was fully prepared to tell my chief, that night, that I’m done. But I don’t think it would have been the right decision, even though I can retire at any time. I will get through this and I will retire before too long. I’m going to retire on my terms, not because of the action of that ... we’ll call him a person.
Thank you again, everyone who has been there for me, even if its just in your thoughts and prayers. I’m feeling much better, so please continue to be there for the DeRosier family. They lost so much in that brief moment of time, a life that can never be brought back.
Justin DeRosier, you will never be forgotten. May you rest in peace.