A Cowlitz County Sheriff’s deputy was fatally wounded late Saturday while investigating a disabled vehicle in a rural area northeast of Kalama, according to the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office.

It is believed to be the first in-line-of-duty death in the agency’s history, according to Cowlitz County Sheriff Brad Thurman.

The shooting occurred at 10:11 p.m. near the intersection of Kalama River Road and Fallert Road, according to a press release issued Sunday.

The deputy, whose name had not been released, had been dispatched to a report of a vehicle blocking the roadway in the 100 block of Fallert Road. He was shot shortly after he arrived at the scene, the press release said.

Other officers provided aid at the scene, and the deputy was transported by LifeFlight to PeaceHealth Medical Center in Vancouver, but he died a short time after arriving, the press release said.

“It is devastating for all of us,” Thurman told The Daily News in Longview on Sunday morning.

This is believed to be the first line-of-duty death in the agency’s history, which streteches back to the mid-1800s, according to Thurman.

He told the newspaper that all sheriff’s personnel were sent home, except for those investigating the shooting, and other law enforcement agencies are covering the county during this period of grief.

The Clark County Major Crimes Unit is assisting in the investigation, which has located a person of interest and is following up on other leads related to the case.

The area where the shooting occurred is closed with the exception to local traffic only on Fallert Road. Investigators are asking the public to avoid the area unless absolutely necessary. There is no timeline currently available for reopening.

Investigators ask that anyone with information related to to the shooting to contact Sergeant Todd Barsness with the Clark County Major Crimes Unit at 360-397-2020 or todd.barsness@clark.wa.gov.

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