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WA state trooper drives himself to Walla Walla hospital after being shot in face

Sept. 23, 2022 Updated Fri., Sept. 23, 2022 at 4:02 p.m.

By Christine Clarridge Seattle Times

A Washington State Patrol trooper shot in the face while on duty in Walla Walla Thursday evening drove himself to the hospital before being airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, according to the Patrol.

Trooper Dean Atkinson, a five-year veteran of the force, is in the intensive-care unit, a Harborview spokesperson said Friday morning.

“This evening we were once again reminded of how dangerous the profession of law enforcement can be,” WSP Chief John R. Batiste said Thursday in a statement. “We were also reminded of how strong and resolute our people can be when Trooper Dean Atkinson though seriously injured found the strength to drive himself to the hospital.”

According to the Patrol, the shooting was around 5:20 p.m. on West Poplar Street near Avery in Walla Walla. The suspect first rammed Atkinson’s car then shot the trooper, WSP said.

Just minutes after the shooting, officers in Milton-Freewater, Oregon, attempted to stop a vehicle matching the description of the car driven by the suspected shooter, police said.

Local officers responded and were involved in a short chase that ended with an arrest, police said. The suspect will be booked into the Walla Walla County Jail.

The regional Special Investigations Unit is investigating the shooting.

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