COEUR D'ALENE, Idaho — Law enforcement agencies in North Idaho are offering condolences following Tuesday's death of Kittitas County Sheriff's deputy Ryan Thompson.
For some officers in Coeur d'Alene, the fatal shooting hits tragically close to home.
“It’s a situation with the law enforcement community where we’re tight knit. It doesn’t matter whether it’s from Idaho, to Washington, to Montana, we’re all looking out for each other,” said officer Mario Rios, a Coeur d'Alene police spokesman.
"It’s is tragic and senseless loss of life. This is a stark reminder of the dangers and sacrifice law enforcement officers, and their families, face every day protecting the communities they serve," wrote Kootenai County Sheriff's detective Dennis Stinebaugh in a statement on behalf of the department. "The Kootenai County Sheriff’s Office wishes to express our sincere and heartfelt condolences to the community of Kittitas County, WA for their devastating loss."
"Extreme sadness throughout the law enforcement family," wrote the Kootenai County Police and Fire Memorial Foundation on its Facebook page Tuesday night, alongside a hashtag saying "#Enough."
Thompson, a multi-year veteran with the Kittitas County Sheriff's Office, was killed while exchanging gunfire with a suspect who fled from a traffic stop. The suspect, identified as 29-year-old Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, was also killed.
Thompson's death comes following last week's shooting of a Montana Highway Patrol trooper outside of Missoula. The trooper, Wade Palmer, is currently in a medically-induced coma after being shot in the face several times.
Between the two states, officers in North Idaho said it was tough to hear of the news.
“It definitely hits closer to home,” said Rios. “For me personally, I have kids, and I definitely see that as a little bit of extra heartbreak. You have to think of those kids and the loss of their father,” he said of Thompson.
For Rios, the shooting is painfully relevant.
Rios was friends with fellow Coeur d'Alene officer Sgt. Greg Moore who was murdered while on duty in 2015. The man who shot Moore was convicted and currently sits on Idaho's death row.
“What we found is that we’re still very close to Greg’s family. We still are there for his kids when they have events," Rios said. "We try to keep that family approach.”
Rios noted that many North Idaho residents respect and understand the dangers faced by law enforcement officers on the job.
For those who are more unfamiliar with cops, deputies, and troopers, Rios echoed that officers are "definitely humans."
"As officers, we’re people that, when we’re not in [uniform], we’re wearing a t-shirt and jeans. And we have families. And we’re normal just like everyone else,” Rios said.