Chief of Police Ralph Painter Rainier Police Department Oregon End of Watch: Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Photograph: Chief of Police Ralph PainterPatch image: Rainier Police Department, Oregon

Chief of Police Ralph Painter
Rainier Police Department

End of Watch: Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Biographical Info
Age: 55
Tour of Duty: Not available
Badge Number: Not available

Incident Details
Cause of Death: Gunfire
Date of Incident: Wednesday, January 5, 2011
Weapon Used: Officer’s handgun
Suspect Info: Apprehended

Chief Ralph Painter was shot and killed after responding to a local car stereo shop in which a man was attempting to take a car that did not belong to him.
When Chief Painter made contact with the man a struggle ensued. The subject was able to disarm him and then fatally shot him.
The man then exchanged shots with responding officers before being wounded and taken into custody.
Chief Painter is survived by his wife and seven children.

Agency Contact Information
Rainier Police Department
106 West B Street
Rainier, OR 97048
Phone: (503) 397-1521
Please contact the Rainier Police Department for funeral arrangements or for survivor benefit fund information.

RAINIER, Ore.  — The police chief of a small northwest Oregon city was shot to death Wednesday in a struggle with a man at a car auto shop. The suspect was wounded and taken to a hospital.

A family source told NBC station KGW that he was police Chief Ralph Painter, 55, and Mayor Jerry Cole confirmed that.

"We’ve lost our police chief … in a line of duty death," Mayor Jerry Cole said. "This has been a tragic day in our city’s history. No one thinks that something like this will happen."

Cole said it was a "sad day" for his small northwest Oregon town. Chief Painter led a force of five officers.

"Ralph was my friend for 25 years," an emotional Cole said, calling him an "outstanding police officer" who served the city for 20 years and as chief for the past five years.

"I’m sorry for my reaction right now. He was a wonderful father, husband and grandfather dedicated to the citizens of Rainier."

The shooting occurred at a small shopping complex in Rainier after the report of a disturbance at Rainier Sound Authority about 10:45 a.m. The officer responded and struggled with the suspect, then was shot to death.

More officers responded to the scene.

Liquor store owner Traci Brumbles saw some police move toward the car audio shop.

"They were kind of pushed up against the wall," she said. "They’d sneak a little further and stop."

Then, the police ordered a man to drop a weapon and fired multiple shots into the Sound Authority building, said John Harper, who is opening a tobacco store.

"The cops just unleashed on him," he told the Longview Daily News.

The suspect was wounded and taken to a hospital, authorities said. Investigators said they did not think the suspect was from Rainier. He was expected to recover from his wounds.

They said the suspect’s identity would be released after consultation with the Columbia County district attorney’s office.

Dusty Rockwood, an employee at the Exhaust Shop and Tire Center, told the Oregonian newspaper that he had been told a man who had broken into a car wrestled with the officer, took his gun and shot him.

Jeff McCracken, the pastor at the Rainier Assembly of God Church in the shopping complex, told NBC station KGW he heard police sirens, watched the incident unfold outside his window and almost got shot himself.

“There were officers about 10 feet outside my window with AR-15s … We heard them [police] start yelling at this guy inside to put his weapon down. I told everyone [in the church] to get down. Then all the sudden a round came through the window I had been looking through, about six inches above my head, where I had just been standing,” McCracken said. “I started yelling, ‘everybody get out, get out!’”

At that point, McCracken and the others inside the church ran to the opposite side of the building. They said police told them to stay inside as a safety precaution.

The shopping complex is in the 7400 block of Rock Crest Street in Rainier, a town of about 1,800 along the Columbia River north of Portland. It is across the river from Longview, Wash.

It was at least the second shooting death of a law enforcement officer in the United States in 2011. On New Year’s Day, a sheriff’s deputy was shot to death in Enon, Ohio , while investigating reports of gunfire. The suspect also was killed. Deputy Suzanne Hopper had married last year and had two children.

In 2010, deaths in the line of duty among law enforcement officers rose to about 160 from 117 the year before, according to numbers as of Dec. 28 compiled by the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, a nonprofit that tracks police deaths.


1 Response to “Chief of Police Ralph Painter Rainier Police Department Oregon End of Watch: Wednesday, January 5, 2011”

  1. 1 M Stewart January 6, 2011 at 16:49

    Chief Police Ralph Painter you will be missed by all that knew you, and many that didn’t. Thank you for your supreme sacrifice.

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