Deputies awarded Medals of Valor

It has been just more than a month since two local deputies stopped a killer in his tracks in Blyn and Clallam County Sheriff Bill Benedict didn't want another day to go by before awarding the men with the Medal of Valor.

Patrol deputies Matthew Murphy and Andrew Wagner stood tall in front of about 60 law enforcement officers, friends and family as they received the golden medallion hanging from a green and white ribbon.

"These deputies are being commended for their ability to go through the proper procedures and make smart decisions in a matter of seconds in a stressful situation," Benedict said during the Oct. 21 ceremony at the Clallam County Courthouse.

"We have since learned that (Shawn) Roe was likely going to Shelton to kill more people, possibly family members, and go out in a blaze of glory in a shootout with officials."

"These deputies and the cooperation of nearly 80 other law enforcement personnel from about 20 agencies brought this dangerous man down and did a great service to the entire peninsula."

On Sept. 20, both Murphy and Wagner responded within a minute to the report from a convenience store clerk that a known suspect for the murder of U.S. Forest Service officer Kristine Fairbanks, Shawn Roe, was at the Longhouse Market and Deli in Blyn.

Officers had distributed photos of Roe within a half an hour before he entered the market.

The deputies, like other officers in the area, had been stationed in a containment fashion to find Roe before he could leave the area.

At the time, officials thought Roe might have been on foot, as they found his van ditched in the forest off Palo Alto Road, just miles away from where he shot officer Fairbanks at the Dungeness Forks Campground.

Fairbanks had contacted Roe because his van had no license plates.

When Wagner and Murphy arrived at the market, they had enough time to watch Roe inside the store and wait for his exit, when they asked him to get on the ground and surrender.

Roe immediately pulled a pistol, which was one of three guns on his person, from his waist and fired one shot before the deputies responded with nine shots killing him.

Neither deputy was injured.

"There is no time to think about lethal force or if your firearms are ready, that's done ahead of time," Benedict said, indicating the preparation for a shootout situation comes from training.

"These deputies did good work and made the right decisions in the span of just a few seconds, saving possibly more victims and thinking ahead to wait until the man left the market."

After the shootout, officials discovered Roe had driven to the market in a truck he had stolen from a man living on a street off Louella Road. Roe shot and killed the man, Richard Ziegler, of Sequim, while he was working on his house and subsequently took his truck.

As a result of the shootout, the two deputies were placed on administrative leave while an investigation into the shooting took place, which is standard procedure when an officer discharges a firearm.

However, the two men returned back to work within weeks and are back in their vehicles patrolling the streets of Clallam County.

Benedict said the investigation is wrapped up but that the official reports from the Washington State Patrol and the FBI have not been finished. When the reports are completed they will be made public, according to Benedict.

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