Kittitas officer shot in the line of duty welcomed home

Kittitas officer shot in the line of duty welcomed home
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Community members gather on the Bullfrog Road overpass over Interstate 90 on Saturday to welcome home Officer Benito

A Kittitas police officer shot in the line of duty returned home Saturday to an outpouring of community support.

As Officer Benito ” Kellyn ” Chavez readied himself to make the journey from Harborview Medical Center in Seattle to his Cle Elum home, community members lined the Interstate 90 overpasses along his route.

Kittitas firefighter Nathan Hubbard and other area firefighters waited for more than an hour on the Bullfrog Road overpass near Cle Elum to wave at Chavez.

” I’m here to support Officer Chavez — along with everybody else — welcome him on his return home and also thank him personally for his sacrifice and keeping us all safe, ” Hubbard said.

Chavez and Kittitas County Sheriff’s Deputy Ryan Thompson were shot on March 19 in the line of duty after a car chase and ensuing gun battle with Juan Manuel Flores Del Torro of Ellensburg.

Deputy Thompson and Torro were both taken to Kittitas Valley Hospital where they were pronounced dead.

Chavez suffered a gunshot wound to the leg and was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle for treatment. He was released about 3 p.m. Saturday and escorted home by Kittitas Valley Fire and Rescue.

Hubbard spoke highly of Chavez, recounting the many times they’d worked out together at the gym.

” We used to run together a lot, ” Hubbard said.

When asked if he had anything else to add, Hubbard ended with a message for Chavez:

” Welcome home, brother. We love you, man. ”

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