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Slain Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy wrestled for North Idaho College

Ryan Thompson, center, wrestled for North Idaho College from 1996 to 1998. As a Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy, he was killed in a gun battle on Tuesday, March, 19, 2019. (KHQ)
Ryan Thompson, center, wrestled for North Idaho College from 1996 to 1998. As a Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy, he was killed in a gun battle on Tuesday, March, 19, 2019. (KHQ)

The Kittitas County sheriff’s deputy killed in a shootout last week spent two years on the wrestling team at North Idaho College.

Ryan Thompson wrestled for NIC from 1996 to 1998, a school spokesman confirmed.

Thompson was originally from Walla Walla, where he played for his high school’s football team. He later attended Central Washington University in Ellensburg.

Thompson, 42, was killed in the small town of Kittitas, about 5 miles from Ellensburg, after a road rage suspect got out of his vehicle and opened fire on the deputy with a handgun.

A Kittitas city police officer, Benito Chavez, 22, was shot in the leg and hospitalized in satisfactory condition.

The suspect, Juan Manuel Flores del Toro, 29, was a citizen of Mexico who entered the United States legally in 2014 but overstayed his agricultural worker visa, according to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

Thompson was longtime friends with Post Falls High School wrestling coaches Pete Reardon and Jeremy Zender, his former college teammates.

Reardon said Thompson was caring and always stood up for what he believed was right.

“He was a unique man who was stolen in a senseless act of violence,” Reardon said.

“My heart goes out to Ryan’s family, friends and fellow officers. It’s hard to make sense of evil in the world, particularly when it takes someone like Ryan far too early. I do know that losing someone as genuine and loving as Ryan reminds us all how we should live our lives and how we should treat our loved ones and neighbors alike.”

Spokesman-Review reporter Ryan Collingwood contributed to this report.

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