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Jan-05-2011 15:27printcomments

Rainier, Oregon Police Chief Dies in Shooting

Deadly shooting that began at a car stereo shop left Rainier's police chief dead.

Salem-News.com
Salem-News.com

(RAINIER, Ore.) - The Police Chief in Rainier, Oregon, Ralph Painter; was shot and killed with his own police service weapon after responding to a reported burglary in progress call at a car stereo store.

Rainier, Oregon Police
Chief Ralph Painter was 55.

After arriving on the scene at approximately 10:45 a.m., a struggle ensued between the chief and the suspect. Ralph Painter was disarmed and fatally shot.

The Police Chief of Rainier, Oregon, Ralph Painter, 55, died in a shooting today. The community in Rainier is shocked; Ralph Painter had many friends and associates in the NW and was highly respected in his role as the city's top lawman.

It happened in a small shopping complex in Rainier where a report had summoned officer response to a car audio shop.

The story emerged slowly at first. For the first several hours media outlets reported that a police officer in Rainier had been killed. It didn't become apparent for some time that the victim had been Chief Painter.

About 25 officers responded to the scene from Rainier and Longview. They were not sure at first how many suspects were involved.

Jeff McCracken is a senior church pastor with Rainier Assemblies of God. He told the Oregonian that he was in his office this morning,"When a few police cars began arriving. One or two we wouldn't have noticed, but there were a lot."

Later the pastor would nearly be shot by a random bullet, as he and his staff ultimately had a better view of the man involved in the shootout than the officers themselves.

McCracken noted that police were carrying assault rifles. This is a standard procedure in the new century; otherwise police are easily outgunned by criminals when equipped only with their standard police weapons.

Traci Trumble with the Oregon Liquor Control Commission in Rainier, said she first saw a man walk by her business with a gun drawn. The next thing she know shots rang out, as many as 8.

Ralph Painter had many friends and they are just absorbing the news. One person he has known many years told Salem-News.com today, "Ralph always cared about people. He was the most unassuming police officer I ever met. Always made sure the food bank in Rainier was remembered when it needed more food donations for clients."

This same acquaintance said, "Rainier is more like a big extended family, than just a little 'town' along the Columbia. I like many friends and neighbors spoke or waved back & forth with Ralph nearly everyday.......and have so many memories of Ralph's kindness and gentle smile."

The suspect, whose name has not yet been released, engaged other responding officers in a shootout before being wounded and taken into custody.

Sources:

Rainier officer killed, suspect wounded in shooting at stereo store

Chief of Police Ralph Painter - The Officer Down Memorial Page

Officer shot to death during struggle in Oregon - MSNBC




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Luke Easter January 6, 2011 4:01 pm (Pacific time)

My comment was made in response to the fact that 25 responding officers were carrying assault rifles. At that time, they had no idea the chief was killed by his own weapon. Not sure of how many suspects were involved and whether or not they were armed. And if armed with what as when criminals are carrying weapons the firepower is greater than that of law enforcement. Police are not allowed to use Teflon bullets but criminals do. They were created to penetrate bullet resistant vests worn by cops not criminals. Soldiers in Vietnam were out gunned by the AK47 verses the AR15 and later M16. The point being, have we not learned that a war not fought on equal grounds is doomed to defeat. Look at Mexico drug dealers have greater firepower than the police and the end result is? Exactly!


James Boggs January 6, 2011 10:27 am (Pacific time)

Silence Dogood January 5, 2011 6:02 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Boggs, Tim King reports the facts very clearly and professionally in the above article. You, Mr.Boggs, perhaps need to go back and re-read the article a little more carefully as your comment is obtuse. The article never comes close to inferring the police chief was shot with an assault rifle, and clearly explains (see above)that some other officers from various police agencies (Washington and Oregon) who responded (after the Chief was shot) were themselves armed with assault-type rifles (per a witness, Pastor Mc Cracken, statement).

I DID read the article, and again, SIR, if this kind of writing is your idea of good reporting, then you are sadly wanting. The police chief was murdered with HIS OWN SERVICE WEAPON. As to the first comment posted (before mine), Luke Easter was asking "To this very day and death why are we still talking about criminals with advanced weapons technology greater than law enforcement?" Again, Tim King and Luke Easter apparently want to make the police chief's murder about gun control. If this is not so, then why the comment by Luke Easter? I do not doubt that Mr. King can write, but there is a difference in reporting facts and in reporting opinion. This suspect was not armed "with advanced weapons technology greater than law enforcement", so why include this comment by Luke Easter?

Editor: Comments are a reflection of opinion and if Luke Easter chooses to comment on a story from where he lives in Ohio, it is not a reflection of the article, but of the comment.  The fact that Luke is also a Salem-News.com writer is incidental in this event.  For what it is worth, Salem-News.com does not have a 'position' on gun control.  Some of our writers have opinions on this subject but they are wide ranging.  We are sympathetic to the pain in Rainier, we know people are sensitive and in pain. Thanks all of you for understanding.    


James Boggs January 6, 2011 10:15 am (Pacific time)

"McCracken noted that police were carrying assault rifles. This is a standard procedure in the new century; otherwise police are easily outgunned by criminals when equipped only with their standard police weapons."
Mr. King (and your defenders), I did NOT take your writing out of context. What I did NOT do (which I should have) is cut and paste your writing from the article that caught my eye and made me offer my opinion. First, please read the pasted section then explain to me the journalistic relevance to the reporting of this story. Was the suspect armed with an assault rifle? Was the police chief murdered with an assault rifle? I believe the answers to those questions are both "no", are they not? If this is the case, then why include that in your writing? Unless you have a personal agenda (gun control)you wish to push, why would you include that quote from the pastor? Again, what relevance does it have to this man's murder? The first comment posted was by Luke Easter as follows:

Luke Easter January 5, 2011 3:59 pm (Pacific time)

The war in the Vietnam Era and the modern day war of good vs evil in the streets of America. To this very day and death why are we still talking about criminals with advanced weapons technology greater than law enforcement?

Again, was the suspect armed with a gun? It would appear unlikely if he had to wrestle the police chief's gun away! Some worthless scumbag murders a police officer with HIS OWN SERVICE WEAPON and you as a writer and Luke Easter as a commentator evidently want to make this an issue about guns, assualt rifles in particular. Mr. King, I feel terrible about this police chief's murder as well, but that is not an excuse for poor journalism. Report facts, not opinions, THAT is good journalism! Leave the opinions for the "comments" section! And for those of you who haven't realized it, police departments began to upgrade their weaponry in the late '80's and throughout the '90's. It was standard proceedure (unfortunately) for MANY police departments in the LAST century, not just the new one.

Tim King: Mr Boggs, it was extremely unusual for police officers to carry the AR-15 in the 'last century' as you suggest.  I will tell you why I think so.  Also understand that I have my own relationship with the M-16 as a former Marine.  I also have watched that Colt/Mattel  rifle develop from an untrustworthy non jungle friendly killer of Americans, (One of my best friends had to use an early M-16 in Vietnam and he can tell you about being sent out to pick up dead Marines from 1/9 and finding them all dead with their M-16's disassembled, trying to make them fire.) to a productive weapon with a scope called the 'M4' which I have seen at work as a reporter covering both wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan.     

I worked in Las Vegas, for the FOX station, when a man who worked at a mine processing facility off I-15  went nuts in a frontloader with nine foot tall tires; the type that articulates in the center.  By the time Las Vegas Metro Police arrived on the scene, the man driving the frontloader had already killed his supervisor and flattened several buildings and automobiles.  One of the officers approached the man who immediately went after the officer.  Soon the cop was on the ladder that the driver uses to access the cab, and the driver is articulating the vehicle, trying to knock the officer free.  It just so happens that at that point in time, around 2000 or so; Las Vegas had exactly two cops qualified to carry the AR-15, and that is it. Even more to my point, those two had to pay to attain the qualification, and they had to buy the darned AR-15 with their own money.  Then the department 'allowed' them to carry the rifle.  It was not at that point, an issued weapon for police at least in that city, but somebody had the sense to allow the process I described above.

As luck had it, one of the two AR-15 carrying officers  was the partner of the guy swinging from the frontloader's ladder.  His partner quickly aimed, and even more quickly realized that the frontloader had a several inch thick glass windshield.  He blasted a section, a hole in the glass, and then dropped one of those .223 caliber rounds right into the driver's head and dispatched him on the spot, which is a tragedy because the man had never been violent in the past, and told a friend over the radio that somebody had 'done something' to him; suggesting he was drugged or something along those lines. In the end it was a tragedy and only that AR-15 kept it from becoming worse. 

When that scene was still fresh, I came flying in over the area in a helicopter, I saw the type of death scene where the man had run over his supervisor, that I would like to never see twice .  I then was dropped off with a ground unit and made my way back for interviews.  Then, I went to the Coroner's Inquest.  All the while, I was always so damned happy that one of two cops on that force had an AR-15 and saved the other man's life.  Now here is one more; my son is a deputy and he carries the M4 in his vehicle, just like he did as a combat soldier in Iraq.  My son is SWAT, and I know that he is capable and even more so because of the rifle he carries.  Also, millions have seen the footage from LA several years ago where two drug crazed idiots attacked police with heavy weapons and the police had to raid a damned sporting goods store.  No police have not always adequately been armed.  Maybe now you will conclude that your assertion is not correct here James.  I would admit it if it was true, but what you suggest was not my intent.  Thanks, I have more stories that influence my thinking, it is experience based. 


Thank you salem-news January 6, 2011 2:20 am (Pacific time)

I want to thank salem-news for its thoughtful coverage of the tragedy being experienced in Rainier, Oregon over Ralph Painter's death.

When my young son came home from school, I had to tell him (before he saw it on the evening news) that Ralph, the father of his 7 year old friend (and oft after-school playmate at daycare), had died. I have never seen my child's face so saddened. Ralph was always like a hero to my son. Think of how much more horrible this is going to be for Ralph’s wife or family to tell Ralph’s little boy that his father is never coming home!

Rainier is a small town. As mentioned in your article, we are more like a big family than just neighbors and friends. I cannot even begin to express how Ralph’s death will be experienced by everyone in the community, let alone his children, wife and other family.

Yes, Ralph was a police officer and our chief of police, but to the people of Rainier he was also our neighbor and friend. His children grew up with our children. Almost everyday any Rainier resident driving through town would see Ralph sitting in his police car making sure the heavy traffic passing through (Or. Hwy 30 goes right through downtown) was slowing down, as our children often crossed the highway to get to our city park; or see Ralph standing on the sidewalk outside the City Hall where the police department is located as he would wave at us; or chat with Ralph while he and/or he and his family were having a meal at one of the few restaurants in town.

This is a man nearly every family and household in Rainier had a very personal relationship with. This is a man that we shared our own life sorrows and joys with, including myself. I am broken-hearted, as is our entire small community over this tragedy.

Ralph was a gentle, kind, thoughtful family man who got up every morning to keep the peace and lawful order in the community for each of us, but he was even more than that. Ralph was a role model and friend to us all, and also our children. Ralph’s death is very personal for the Rainier community.

Ralph’s widow and children will not be forgotten by the community. People of Rainier will be there for his family, as Ralph was there for us; we will help to carry them through this.

Wherever you live, if possible, please try to thank police officers for the difficult job they do. They deal with unique stresses everyday that we can’t often imagine; and also be supportive of their families in your own communities. It was my privilege to know Ralph Painter. Ralph, rest in peace my friend.

Editor: Thank you kindly for sharing your thoughts about this man Rainier lost; our thoughts are with all of you.  


Hank Ruark January 5, 2011 7:27 pm (Pacific time)

Boggs et al:
  Tim's handling of this story is meticulous and professional; your criticism reflects distressing personal understandings and attitude.
  That judgment comes from some 50 working years as writer, journalist and editor.
  What's your working experience in this field, sir ??


Mike January 5, 2011 7:08 pm (Pacific time)

This type of tragedy occurs with increasing regularity. Over 20% of officers slain in the line of duty are shot with their own weapons. As for the article - the reporter spelled Rainier wrong, not once, but twice. Once was 'Ranier' and the other 'Rainer'. May the Chief rest in peace and my prayers are with his family. He was obviously a man of noble spirit.
Mike

Tim King: Mike, I strongly regret the misspellings and they are now corrected, thanks.  


Silence Dogood January 5, 2011 6:02 pm (Pacific time)

Mr. Boggs, Tim King reports the facts very clearly and professionally in the above article. You, Mr.Boggs, perhaps need to go back and re-read the article a little more carefully as your comment is obtuse. The article never comes close to inferring the police chief was shot with an assault rifle, and clearly explains (see above)that some other officers from various police agencies (Washington and Oregon) who responded (after the Chief was shot) were themselves armed with assault-type rifles (per a witness, Pastor Mc Cracken, statement).


James Boggs January 5, 2011 4:47 pm (Pacific time)

Where in this "reporting" does it say the suspect had an assault rifle? This police chief (God rest his soul) had his service weapon TAKEN from him in a struggle with the suspect and was shot and killed with HIS OWN weapon! Yet for some reason, Tim King feels the need to say that responding police officers were armed with assault rifles, as if the police chief had been shot with an assault rifle. This is incredibly POOR reporting on a story of this magnitude.Hard to believe that an editor would allow high school writing such as this to represent their "news" organization.

Tim King: What on EARTH are you saying?  This article says the chief was killed with his own police service weapon.  It references the responding officers carrying assault rifles, which they should carry for their own safety.  Never did I imply what you said, not even close.  Please read the story, I referenced the assault rifle part because it is widely reported, not a negative aspect.   I feel terrible about this happening, you are out of context James.  


Luke Easter January 5, 2011 3:59 pm (Pacific time)

The war in the Vietnam Era and the modern day war of good vs evil in the streets of America. To this very day and death why are we still talking about criminals with advanced weapons technology greater than law enforcement?

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