Memorial unveiling for fallen Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy postponed

Deputy Ryan Thompson
Deputy Ryan Thompson

KITTITAS COUNTY, Wash. — Yesterday marked the tragic one-year anniversary of an officer-involved shooting in Kittitas County that left a sheriff’s deputy dead and a police officer badly injured.

Local law enforcement agencies had planned to unveil a memorial honoring fallen Deputy Ryan Thompson, but the event was postponed due to COVID-19 restrictions.

Kittitas Police Chief Chris Taylor said the memorial will be installed  in front of Kittitas City Hall and will serve to make sure what happened on March 19, 2019 will never be forgotten.

“It will be a constant reminder of the sacrifice that Deputy Thompson made and the sacrifice that law enforcement makes every day,” Taylor said.

After the shooting, Taylor said Officer Benito Chavez’s drive was to get back to being a police officer and maintaining the safety and protection of the community.

“That, in his way, is also honoring Deputy Thompson: by getting back to his job too,” Taylor said. “So, for Benito, his focus was to get healthy, get back to work and move forward and that’s what he’s done.”

In the year since the tragic incident, Taylor said the department has continued to grow and adapt. Last fall, Kittitas became the first city in the county to have police officers outfitted with body cameras. 

Taylor said the hope is to unveil the memorial sometime in June, but with the changing nature of COVID-19 restrictions, plans may change again.

In the meantime, Taylor said he wants the community to continue to remember the sacrifices law enforcement officers made to keep them safe.

“Don’t forget,” Taylor said.