12/19/2014

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Hit-and-run suspect killed in shootout with police in Kelso

Hit-and-run suspect killed in shootout with police in Kelso

KELSO, Wash. – A Kelso police officer and a Cowlitz County sheriff’s deputy shot and killed an armed man during a shootout outside a home Saturday morning.

Police said the suspect was 26-year-old Jesse McMillan.

Kelso Police Officer Ralph Hines, 40, and Cowlitz County Deputy Sheriff Danny O'Neill, 63, shot McMillan. Hines is a 9-year veteran with Kelso police and O'Neill has been Deputy Sheriff for 7 years after previously serving with the Washington State Patrol for 34 years.

Kelso police responded to a hit-and-run crash in the 200 block of Northwest 8th Avenue at around 10 a.m. McMillan hit two parked cars and drove away from the scene, police said.

Officers tracked him to his mother's house where they believed he was hiding, according to police. Authorities determined that McMillan had a felony robbery warrant and they tried to convince him to come out of the house.

Police said at 10:45 a.m., McMillan came out and began shooting at police officers and deputies. A police officer and deputy returned fire, shooting and killing McMillan, Kelso Police Captain Darr Kirk said.

The Cowlitz County Coroner said McMillan died from "multiple gunshot wounds to the chest and abdomen."

Officer Hines and Deputy O'Neill are on paid administrative leave, which is standard procedure. Hines was shot in the leg, but was released from the hospital on Saturday.

"Our officers acted appropriately," said Kirk. "It's tragic, but they really responded appropriately."

A neighbor told KATU they heard at least a dozen shots. The Clark County Regional Major Crimes Task Force is investigating the shooting.

Police said McMillan's mother was home when he arrived at the house. Officers got her out of the house before the shooting started.

Many of McMillan's friends gathered at the scene Saturday afternoon.

"Everything he did he was passionate about," said McMillan's friend Ryan Connors.

Loren Reed said McMillan couldn't get the help he needed while he was in jail, or after he was released.

"He didn't deserve to be shot, he deserved to be on the mental health floor over there, getting back on his doses of medication," said Reed.

"We might all put on a tough exterior, but inside, his heart was huge," said Connors. "I guarantee it, he was scared."

KATU's Erica Nochlin contributed to this story.

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