Two armed Good Samaritans, including one veteran, helped protect two wounded deputies who were shot while responding to reports of a “neighborhood dispute” on Thursday in Peaceful Valley, Wash.
According to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, Deputies Ryan Rathbun and Jason Thompson responded to a dispute around 4:20 p.m. on Feb. 10. After arriving on scene, suspect Joel Young fired his shotgun, injuring one of the deputies. The second deputy returned fire, but Young shot again, injuring the second deputy.
Nearby armed civilians Jesse Marshall and Cody Deeter, who live down the street from Young, jumped into action and laid down cover fire to protect the fallen deputies.
“We got the kids inside, went in, got guns to return fire. Come out and handle the situation,” Marshall, a military veteran, said.
Deeter said when he saw Young standing in his doorway, he “unloaded” his firearm in an effort to deter Young from shooting again.
“When I came around the corner, he was in the doorway and I unloaded. Just to get him to go away so we can get these guys back,” Deeter said.
A third neighbor also jumped in to help, and all three were able to pull the deputies out of the line of fire and into a nearby garage where they rendered first aid until backup arrived. Both deputies were transported to a nearby hospital. As of Monday, both deputies have been released from the hospital.
The Sheriff’s Office said in a statement that its personnel is “extraordinarily blessed that several armed citizens came to the deputies’ assistance at the critical moments when they were most vulnerable.”
“I have contacted all three of the good Samaritans and expressed appreciation on behalf of myself and all members of law enforcement and their families,” the statement read. “There will be a more formal recognition of these humble citizen heroes once more details of their actions can be released.”
Sheriff Bill Elfo said in a statement posted on Facebook that he is “incredibly proud” of the injured deputies, as well as all of the people and organizations who support the Sheriff’s Office, including “the citizens who prayed and expressed support.”
According to KING5, Young was charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder. He is being held on $5 million bail.
“Please join me in continued prayers for the full and complete recovery of both deputies and comfort for their families; the protection of all law enforcement officers; and a return to law and order in our state and nation,” Sheriff Elfo said.