RAINIER, Ore. – Police said Tuesday that a 30-year-old man from eastern Washington shot and wounded a Rainier police officer during a traffic stop Monday and then killed himself later in the day.
Oregon State Police spokesman Lt. Gregg Hastings said Christopher Eugene Elliot was from Waitsburg, Washington and had no outstanding warrants. He said investigators don’t know right now why he opened fire on Officer Russ George, 45, who was hit in the right hand. The bullet went through his hand and hit him in his chest, but it was stopped by his bullet proof vest, Hastings said.
The Oregon state medical examiner said Elliot died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Late Tuesday night, Christopher Elliott's mother, Ruthy Elliott, released a statement that said in part, "The Christopher that was in Oregon yesterday is the total opposite of the way Christopher lived his life for 30 years."
Hastings said George, accompanied by a reserve officer, pulled Elliot over on Highway 30 near Veterans Way at about 12:30 p.m. Monday after receiving driving complaints. Elliot shot George as he approached the car.
After the shooting, Elliot sped away and a chase ensued. George, with the reserve officer, drove himself to the hospital.
Police found the suspect’s car 18 miles away near Clatskanie on Collins Road No. 1 at about 1 p.m. About a half hour later police said they heard a gunshot. They set up a perimeter and waited for additional police officers to arrive.
Police searched the area and found Elliot’s body near Erickson Dike Road in the vicinity of a barn at about 5 p.m. Hastings said a handgun was found near Elliot's body.
KATU looked into Elliot's background and it appears he did not have much of a criminal past. He was arrested in 2003 for theft in the third degree. He was also cited a couple times for driving with a suspended license and driving without insurance. All of those cases were from Walla Walla, Washington.
George is in fair condition at a Portland hospital, Hastings said.
The investigation is ongoing, he said.
KATU's Chelsea Kopta and Bob Heye contributed to this story.