RAINIER, Ore. -- Flowers, cards and messages of support poured from the community of Rainier to show their support Thursday after the killing of the man who was in charge of protecting their city.
Rainier Police Chief Ralph Painter was shot and killed outside a church just before noon Wednesday after a struggle with a 21-year-old man at a car stereo shop.
A procession of law enforcement Thursday afternoon wound from the State Medical Examiner's Office to Interstate 205, to Highwyay 84, to Interstate 5 and over the Fremont Bridge to Highway 30, and then North on Highway 30 to Rainier.
Full coverage: Rainier police chief killed
The flag outside of city hall is flying at half-staff. Throughout the morning Thursday, people added to the memorial on the steps of city hall.
Raw video: Police motorcade for Chief Painter
Photos: Tragedy in Rainier
The chief's younger brother said Painter was the patriarch of their family and a natural leader who helped inspire him to turn his life around.
A Facebook page was created for supporters.
Even those who did not know the police chief personally said they felt a great loss.
The suspect was identified by Columbia County officials as Daniel Butts, of Kalama. Investigators said the struggle between Butts and the chief at Rainier Sound Authority ended with the fatal shooting just before 11 a.m. Wednesday.
"It was like when Kennedy got shot ... your heart just grabs and you can't believe it ... it doesn't seem like it can happen to the people that are so wonderful," Rainier neighbor Sue Drummond said.
“Ralph Painter has been here for over 20 years, from officer to sergeant to chief,” Cole said. "It’s like the dream job in a dream town for a police officers to move up through the ranks.”
An account was set up at the Rainier Bank of America for contributions in memory of the chief.