Grand jury indicts man in shooting of Rainier police chief

Grand jury indicts man in shooting of Rainier police chief
Daniel Armaugh Butts, 21, appears in court via a video feed from the Columbia County Jail. (KATU News file photo).

PORTLAND, Ore. – The man suspected of shooting and killing a small-town police chief was indicted by a grand jury Friday.

The Columbia County grand jury indicted 21-year-old Daniel A. Butts with nine counts of aggravated murder, five counts of attempted aggravated murder and other counts in the killing of 55-year-old Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter.

The charge of aggravated murder will allow prosecutors to seek the death penalty but District Attorney Steve Atchison has said he has not decided whether he will do so.

Police say Painter was shot in the head after a struggle with Butts at a car stereo store Jan. 5. Sources say Butts was able to get Painter’s gun away from him and used it to shoot him. Painter was responding to a call that someone was trying to steal a car at the Sound Authority store in Rainier.
Butts has been held in solitary confinement without bail since the shooting.

Police shot Butts during a gunfight at the stereo store, injuring him. He still has a bullet lodged in his back near his spine.

The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office said the grand jury also found police were justified in shooting Butts.

The indictment also accuses Butts of first degree robbery, first degree burglary, unauthorized use of a vehicle, theft in the first degree and recklessly endangering another person. In total the grand jury indicted him of 24 counts.

Butts’ arraignment on the indictment is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 26 at 3 p.m.