The Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office is investigating the death of Wahkiakum Sheriff Jon Dearmore. Cowlitz Sheriff Mark S. Nelson issued this statement Wednesday morning:
Wahkiakum County Sheriff's deputies responded to a call from Sheriff Dearmore's wife at approximately 5:00 p.m. when she reported that he was making suicidal statements and she was concerned for his welfare.
When the deputies arrived on scene, they found Sheriff Dearmore in his shop. As they entered the door to talk with him, he shot himself. Both deputies are long-time Sheriff's Office employees and friends of Sheriff Dearmore.
Wahkiakum County Undersheriff Mark Howie contacted Sheriff Nelson and asked for assistance. Cowlitz County Sheriff's investigators are handling the investigation, as well as providing patrol services for the eastern portion of Wahkiakum County, while Pacific County Sheriff Scott Johnson's office is providing patrol response to the Westend of the county.
Coroner duties are being handled by Cowlitz County Coroner Tim Davidson's office at the request of Wahkiakum County Prosecutor and Coroner Dan Bigelow.
At this point, it appears that Sheriff Dearmore may have been despondent over medical issues he had been experiencing due to a lingering line-of-duty injury suffered several years ago. Other circumstances prior to Sheriff Dearmore's taking his own life are under investigation.
"Sheriff Dearmore was a loved, well respected member of the Wahkiakum community, as well as the region." Sheriff Nelson said in the statement. "He was my friend, and I'll miss him."