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Suspect charged with murder in death of WSP Trooper Justin Schaffer

One Washington state trooper was killed and another was injured when a suspect eluded police on I-5, driving in excess of 100 mph.

CHEHALIS, Wash. — The man accused of killing Washington State Patrol Trooper Justin Schaffer has been charged with 1st degree murder. 

William David Thompson, age 39, is also charged with attempted murder after driving towards another trooper. Additional charges include robbery, assault, eluding law enforcement, driving without a license and tampering with an interlock device. 

Thompson, of Olympia, was wanted by police for shoplifting from a convenience store and attempting to hit the clerk with his vehicle on March 23.

Court documents said when police located the Ford F-150 and attempted to pull Thompson over, he fled. Deputies pursued the truck into Lewis County.

Thompson drove in excess of 100 mph, "using all lanes and even the paved shoulder," according to court documents. 

Several WSP troopers joined the pursuit by deploying spike strips. 

Trooper Justin Schaffer, 28, was one of the troopers deploying spike strips when he was struck by the suspect’s vehicle. According to court documents, Thompson "veered directly towards Schaffer." He was taken to the hospital, but died from his injuries.

RELATED: Washington State Patrol trooper dies after being hit by fleeing driver on I-5

A half-mile away, Trooper Michael Farkas was attempting to stop Thompson with spike strips when Thompson "again drove straight toward Trooper Farkas and his patrol car," despite having a "clear path to stay left," according to court documents.

Thompson hit Farkas' car, sheering off a bumper, which hit Farkas in the chest. The force of the object could have caused serious injury had Farkas not been wearing his ballistic vest. 

Thompson eventually lost control of the truck.

After a standoff that lasted nearly one and a half hours, which included police firing smoke canisters into the truck, Thompson was arrested.

Trooper Schaffer has been with the WSP for the last seven years.

Thurston County Sheriff John Snaza knows the Schaffer family well, including Chehalis Chief, and Justin’s father, Glenn Schaffer.

“I feel so much sorrow for the family,” said Snaza, “Justin as a man, was obviously willing to make sacrifices his father would do.”  

He said Justin’s enthusiasm for the profession was obvious, having started as an officer at age 21, before becoming a full fledged K-9 officer with the Washington State Patrol.  Schaffer was also recently married, said Snaza.  

“Men and women in law enforcement, fire, EMS, we sacrifice our lives every day for the citizens of the state, I would like people to know this something we chose to do,” said Snaza. “It goes to show the sacrifice men and women are willing to give for the state and the communities they serve.”

Trooper Schaffer is survived by his wife, mother, and father.

WATCH: Authorities give update after WSP trooper struck on I-5

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