Michael Veatch, of Kalama, was killed in an officer-involved incident Wednesday morning that closed down Highway 30 near St. Helens for most of the day.
Veatch is the brother of a Matthew Veatch, the man accused of helping Brian Butts escape a law enforcement manhunt Butts killed Cowlitz County sheriff’s Deputy Justin DeRosier on April 13.
Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman said currently, the only connection between Michael Veatch and the DeRosier case is that Matthew and Michael were brothers.
Around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, officers from the St. Helens Police Department responded to calls of a person, later identified as Veatch, firing shots at the St. Helens Chevron at 115 North Columbia River Highway, according to an Oregon State Police press release.
When officers arrived on scene, Veatch got in his car and fled down Highway 30 toward Deer Island. Police followed, and near milepost 35, Veatch’s vehicle broke down, OSP reported. Veatch then reportedly fled on foot.
A St. Helens police officer then “used force resulting in the suspect’s death,” according to the press release. Details about the cause and manner of Veatch’s death have not been released.
The St. Helens police officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard practice when an officer is involved in a fatality, the release said. OSP spokesman Timothy Fox said he did not know when the name of the involved officer would be released.
Highway 30 was closed between St. Helens and Rainier around 7 a.m. Wednesday, and remained closed until nearly 6 p.m. that same day, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
According to the OSP press release, detectives are still investigating the report of shots being fired from Veatch’s vehicle prior to and during the pursuit.
The Oregon medical examiner did not return calls for comment.
No other information was available at this time.
Anyone that may have witnessed any part of the incident should contact the Oregon State Police at 503-375-3555.
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