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Suspect in Walla Walla state trooper shooting charged with attempted murder

Brandon Dennis O'Neel, 37, was charged Friday with attempted murder in the first degree.

WALLA WALLA, Wash. — A note threatening to "execute any cop or manager" was found in the home of the man suspected of shooting a state trooper in Walla Walla on Thursday.

Brandon Dennis O'Neel, 37, was charged Friday with attempted murder in the first degree, first-degree assault and attempting to elude police. Bail was set at $1 million.

On Thursday, Sept. 22, O'Neel was being served an eviction notice. There was a note on his door with the following sentence underlined: "Evict me an [sic] I will execute any cop or manager you send period," according to probable cause documents.

A sign with the word "Bomb" written on it was also found inside the residence, according to probable cause documents. 

The area was evacuated while the Washington State Patrol bomb squad cleared the area. No bomb was found. 

O'Neel was not home at the time.

He returned home shortly before 5 p.m. where he discovered he was unable to enter his apartment. 

A witness told police she saw a masked man stop his car in the roadway in the 1300 block of West Poplar Street next to Trooper Dean Atkinson Jr. shortly after 5 p.m. Atkinson was in a fully-marked police vehicle.

According to the witness, the man got out of his car and shot four to five times in Atkinson's direction, according to probable cause documents.

The shooter, later identified as O'Neel, fled the area.

Atkinson was able to drive himself to the hospital, where he was treated at Providence Medical Center and then flown to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

O'Neel drove to Oregon before changing direction, driving back to Washington state. 

Police stopped O'Neel on State Route 125, where he was arrested.

A Walla Walla police officer saw a pistol in the center console of O'Neel's vehicle.

O'Neel's next court appearance is scheduled for Oct. 3.

"I'm just happy that he is going to live," said Walla Walla resident Jenny Mayberry. "I have known Dean basically almost his whole life, watching him grow up while working with his dad at the District 4 fire department." 

Mayberry has started a fundraiser to help support Trooper Atkinson.

"I feel like it's the least we can do it just show our love to him and know that we care for him and we hope for the best," Mayberry said.

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