Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter Killed in Struggle with Auto Theft Suspect

Rainier police chief Ralph Painter responded to a call about an attempted car theft at 10:47 a.m. Less than an hour later he was dead from a gunshot wound, this town’s first officer to die in the line of duty.

Rainier, Oregon Police Chief Ralph Painter was shot and killed with his own handgun after responding to Sound Authority — a local car stereo store at 75938 Rock Crest Street, to a report of a man was attempting to steal a car.

When Chief Painter arrived and contacted the suspect, the man struggled with the law officer. The offender was able to disarm Chief Painter, and fatally shoot him.

The offender then exchanged shots with additional responding police officers, but was apprehended after being shot and wounded.

Rainier, Oregon (pop. 1800) is located on the south bank of the Columbia River with Mount Rainier visible in hills above the city.

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