Suspect in shooting of Rainier police officer found dead

RAINIER, Ore. - A Rainier police officer was shot Monday afternoon during a traffic stop, and Oregon State Police said the suspect in the shooting was found dead hours later.

Columbia County Sheriff Jeff Dickerson said it appears the suspect fatally shot himself.

According to Columbia Fire and Rescue, the police officer was shot in the hand. The bullet went through his hand and hit him in the chest, but he was wearing a bulletproof vest.

Oregon State Police identified the officer as Russ George.

On Tuesday morning,troopers said George was still being treated and was in fair condition.

George and the reserve officer with him drove to a hospital in Longview, Wash., fire officials said. George was later taken to Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland.

The shooting occurred near Highway 30 and Veteran's Way in Rainier at about 12:30 p.m., police said. The officer had stopped a red car after reported driving complaints and someone got out and started shooting. The driver of that car then sped away.

A search for the suspect ensued.

From Chopper 2, a red car could be seen stopped on a dirt road on a tree farm about 18 miles away from the scene of the shooting . Police had pulled their vehicles up behind it. There appeared to be no one in the car.

Dickerson said police found the suspect's car near Clatskanie on Collins Road No. 1 at about 1 p.m. He said about a half hour later police heard a gunshot. They set up a perimeter and waited for additional police officers to arrive.

Dickerson said the suspect's body was found near Erickson Dike Road in the vicinity of a barn at about 5 p.m.

He said investigators have not confirmed his identity.

Witnesses said the shooting happened at about 12:30 p.m.

"As soon as we turned the corner by the laundry mat we heard one gunshot. (We) turned around, everybody started yelling and another one went off and they all sped off. It all just happened within a minute," said Jessica Warren.

"I heard two pops, and then all of a sudden they said, 'Hey! We're under fire!' And they got in the car and just took off as fast as they could," said Susie Lucas.

Oregon State Police said multiple agencies searched for the suspect near Clatskanie.

Hastings said the suspect's name will not be released until an autopsy is completed.