crime scene
Representational image Getty Images/Jonathan Alcorn

A deputy with the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office in Washington was fatally shot Saturday night while responding to a call involving a disabled vehicle blocking a rural road. Justin DeRosier's death was the agency's first of an officer in the line of duty in its 165-year history, according to Sheriff Brad Thurman.

DeRosier was sent to investigate a disabled vehicle blocking a road when he was shot shortly after arriving at the scene, a news release from the Cowlitz County Sheriff’s Office said. He was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver where he was declared dead. Police said they found a person of interest in the shooting. However, detectives were also on the lookout for an additional suspect in the incident as of Sunday. The Clark County Major Crimes Unit was also following up on the investigation, authorities said.

"Deputy DeRosier made a huge impact in his short career and will forever live in our hearts and minds," read a post on the agency's Facebook page, along with a photo of DeRosier.

Reacting to the tragedy, Thurman said the death of the 29-year-old was "devastating for all of us." He added that DeRosier was survived by his wife and a 5-month-old daughter.

DeRosier, who joined the Whitman County Sheriff’s Office in 2013, became a deputy in Cowlitz County in 2016. He was a 2012 graduate of Washington State University, and was set to start his training to be a narcotics investigator with the drug task force in July, Thurman said in a statement.

“Most of us have known him most of his life,” Cowlitz County Undersheriff Darren Ullmann told local media the (Longview) Daily News. “There were few cops who want to be a cop more than Justin did. He loved his job. He was incredibly good at it. And as you can imagine, as I’m obviously showing, this is very personal for our agency. … I had a lot of hope and plans for Justin.”

In a tweet, Gov. Jay Inslee wrote about DeRosier’s killing: “Our hearts go out to the family of the Cowlitz County deputy killed in the line of duty last night. Every one of these tragedies is a reminder that these men and women put their lives on the line every day in service to us all.”

Funeral arrangements for DeRosier were pending as of late Sunday.