St. Helens shooting suspect connected to DeRosier death

Crime

The St. Helens suspect died by 'use of deadly force' along Hwy 30

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The man who died following a St. Helens shooting and a chase along Highway 30 Wednesday was taken into custody as part of the investigation into the shooting death of Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier in April, multiple sources confirmed to KOIN 6 News.

His name was later released by investigators around 3 p.m. Thursday.

Court documents obtained by KOIN 6 News show Michael Veatch allegedly called Brian Butts to warn him Deputy DeRosier was headed his way the night of April 13. Butts then opened fire, killing DeRosier.

Michael Veatch died from the “use of deadly force” by officers along Hwy 30 near the community of Deer Island north of St. Helens.

The Wednesday incident began around 5:25 a.m. at a St. Helens Chevron station where a man held an employee at gunpoint and began firing at cars and windows, witnesses said. No one was hurt.

Gunfire ripped through this car near the Chevron in St. Helens, October 8, 2019. Nobody was hurt. (Courtesy to KOIN)

A witness told KOIN 6 News the suspect fired up to 15 shots while trying to flee through her neighborhood before turning back onto Hwy 30.

A 12-mile chase began along Hwy 30 ending near Deer Island, closing the road for 12 hours. Authorities said the suspect died at the scene by “use of deadly force” from officers, but have not disclosed how he died.

Cowlitz County authorities told KOIN 6 News there were no pending cases against Michael Veatch as of Wednesday.

Michael Veatch in an undated photo provided October 10, 2019 (Savannah Eastmann)

The DeRosier Connection

Michael Veatch and his brother, Matthew Veatch, were both taken into custody during the investigation into the shooting death of Deputy DeRosier. Matthew was arrested in direct relation to the case, while Michael was held on outstanding warrants.

Court documents obtained by KOIN 6 News show Michael Veatch and Brian Butts were working on a disabled motorhome on Fallert Road sometime between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. on April 13.

Fallen_deputy_DeRosier__couldn_t_be_over_0_20190415133833
Cowlitz County Deputy Justin DeRosier

Then around 10 p.m., Veatch was stopped by DeRosier for a broken tail light and then called Brian Butts to warn him Deputy DeRosier was on his way to check out the disabled motorhome.

When DeRosier arrived several minutes later, Butts shot him to death.

As the investigation unfolded, it was learned Butts gave Matthew Veatch a handgun to “get rid of” and he locked it in his own gun cabinet.

Court documents say Matthew Veatch admitted to leading Butts away on foot. As they walked for hours toward Modrow Road, Butts told Veatch he had shot a cop. Butts hid in a barn in the woods and Veatch told the officer he didn’t know where Butts was.

A passenger in Michael Veatch’s car told investigators Veatch tipped off Butts that DeRosier was headed to the motorhome. Michael and the passenger “tried to fix the tail light and then drove by the deputy’s vehicle” at the motorhome. The passenger later admitted he saw Deputy DeRosier with his gun out and yelling at the motorhome as they drove by.

DeRosier was mortally wounded and died at the hospital from multiple gunshots.

Butts died from multiple gunshots wounds after two veterans of the Kelso Police Department confronted him on Sunday, April 14.

Brian Butts is the brother of Daniel Butts, who killed Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter in 2011.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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