Police investigate St. Helens Chevron fatal shooting
UPDATED 12 p.m. 10/11/19 — A shooting at a St. Helens gas station, followed by law enforcement's use of deadly force against the suspect, caused a prolonged closure of Highway 30 on Wednesday, Oct. 9.
St. Helens Police Department officers were dispatched to reports of a shooting at the Chevron gas station near Highway 30 and Columbia Boulevard at 5:26 a.m. Wednesday.
On Thursday afternoon, Oct. 10, police released the name of the suspect following the shooting as 32-year-old Michael Thomas Veatch of Washington.
A review of Oregon court records indicates that Veatch does not have a previous criminal history in Oregon. However, Veatch was most recently taken into custody in April in connection to an investigation into the death of Cowlitz County Deputy DeRoiser who was shot by Brian Butts earlier this year. Reporting from KOIN 6 and court documents obtained by the media outlet, Veatch allegedly called Butts to warn him the deputy was coming while he was working on a broken down motorhome. The court records show Veatch had been helping Butts on the motorhome and when he left, he was stopped by the deputy for a broken tail light before DeRoiser continued on to find the motorhome.
Butts then shot DeRoiser, who later died from injuries. Veatch's brother, Matthew Veatch, was also arrested in connection with the investigation for allegedly assisting Butts elude officers after the shooting, reporting from The Astorian states.
Witnesses reported to KOIN 6 News, a Pamplin Media Group news partner, that the suspect, now known as Veatch, was holding a gun on an employee at the gas station on Wednesday morning. Veatch then reportedly fired shots at the station when attempting to flee the scene.
A window at a Chevron gas station on Highway 30 and Columbia Boulevard was shattered and the station surrounded by caution tape Wednesday morning.
Following the shooting, Veatch fled from officers in a vehicle traveling on Highway 30 toward Deer Island, a Thursday, Oct. 10, press release from SHPD stated. The vehicle became disabled near milepost 35 when Veatch then fled on foot.
St. Helens police stated that police used deadly force against Veatch. The SHPD press release did not elaborate or explain the nature of the deadly force used.
Inquiries to the Oregon State Police, which is taking the lead on the investigation, also did not yield any details about the use of deadly force.
The officer involved, who has not been identified, has been placed on administrative leave, per SHPD policy, the Thursday release states.
SHPD indicated that multiple scenes are being investigated in connection with the shooting.
Law enforcement officials closed Highway 30 four miles west of St. Helens between milepost 35 and 36 early Wednesday morning and did not reopen the roadway until the early evening, causing traffic backups and long delays for commuters.
Social media accounts of the incident indicated that a police pursuit followed the initial shooting and that the suspect, Veatch, fired his weapon at other vehicles on Highway 30, striking some.
Law enforcement officials on Thursday confirmed those reports are being investigated.
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