A Kalama man was killed in an officer-involved incident Wednesday morning that closed Highway 30 near St. Helens, Ore., for most of the day.
The man was identified as Michael Veatch, 33. Veatch is the brother of Matthew Veatch, who is accused of helping Brian Butts escape a law enforcement manhunt after allegedly killing 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 Michael and Matthew Veatch were brothers.
Around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, the St. Helens Police Department responded to calls of a person, later identified as Michael Veatch, firing shots at the St. Helens Chevron, 115 North Columbia River Highway, according to an Oregon State Police press release.
When officers arrived on scene, Veatch got in his vehicle and fled down Highway 30 toward Deer Island. Police followed, and near milepost 35, Veatch’s vehicle broke down, the press release said. He then reportedly got out and fled on foot.
A St. Helens police officer then “used force resulting in the suspect’s death,” according to the press release. No details about how Veatch died have been released.
The St. Helens police officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is department policy in situations when an officer is involved in a fatality, the press 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, Ore., around 7 a.m. Wednesday and remained that way for about 11 hours, according to the Oregon Department of Transportation.
Detectives are still investigating the report of shots being fired from Veatch’s vehicle prior to and during the pursuit, according to the police press release.
The Oregon medical examiner could not immediately be reached.
No further information was available.
Anyone who may have witnessed any part of the incident should contact Oregon State Police at 503-375-3555.