A road rage suspect who allegedly shot and killed a sheriff’s deputy and wounded a police officer in Washington state this week was living illegally in the United States, the federal government said Thursday.
U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement said Juan Manuel Flores Del Toro, 29, was a Mexican citizen who entered Laredo, Texas, in 2014 on a temporary agricultural worker visa.
ICE said it had no record that Flores Del Toro left the U.S. or extended his visa following its expiration. He died in a hospital shortly after the Tuesday night shootout in the small town of Kittitas in central Washington.
Police are still investigating his background and why he led officers on a chase. There were no warrants pending for his arrest, Ellensburg Police Capt. Dan Hansberry said.
President Donald Trump has used past crimes by undocumented immigrants to justify his immigration policies, although national statistics show immigrants commit fewer crimes than those born in the U.S.
A 2017 Cato Institute study reported the incarceration rate for native-born Americans is 1.53 percent compared to 0.85 percent for undocumented immigrants and 0.47 percent for legal immigrants.
In his State of the Union address in February, Trump described how an undocumented immigrant burglarized and killed a couple in Reno, Nevada. He had previously commented on an undocumented immigrant killing a law enforcement officer late last year in California.
“Time to get tough on Border Security,” Trump tweeted at the time. “Build the Wall!”
In Flores Del Toro’s case, Hansberry said police previously “had limited contacts with him,” adding they were “nothing of real significance” without providing further details.
Officers on Tuesday tried to stop Flores Del Toro’s vehicle after receiving a complaint about his driving that authorities described as “road-rage type event.” They chased him until he stopped in a house trailer park near Kittitas, about five miles from Ellensburg, the city where Flores Del Toro resided. Police say he got out of the car and shot at them with a handgun.
Sheriff’s deputy Ryan Thompson, 42, was killed and Kittitas police officer Benito Chavez, 22, was shot in the leg, shattering his femur.
Thompson was married with three children. Chavez joined the three-person Kittitas police department last July, officials said.
A law enforcement officer had not been fatally shot in the county since 1927, authorities said.