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Wounded Kittitas officer returns to work after March shooting

Kittitas Police Officer Benito Chavez returned to work nearly four months after he was injured pursuing a suspect.

KITTITAS, Wash. — A Kittitas police officer who was injured in a March shooting went back to work Monday with a warm welcome from the community.

Officer Benito Chavez was injured and Kittitas County Deputy Ryan Thompson was killed during a police pursuit on March 19 that ended in a shootout with a suspect.

During a ceremony at City Hall on Monday, Chavez was presented with a flag that was signed by law enforcement officers and veterans from across the country.

There was celebration during the event, but also sadness as they remember Deputy Thompson.

“What he did that night, I think about it all the time, because he’s the only reason that I’m able to stand here today,” Chavez said.

RELATED: National Guard members build ramp for wounded Kittitas officer

Chavez is going to physical therapy three times a week and can walk with a cane. He says he’s trying to build up strength in his leg.

Chavez, who is one three Kittitas police officers, will be on desk duty while he continues to recover from his injuries.

"I'm just trying to do everything that I can to help the citizens of Kittitas and the Kittitas community," Chavez said.

The investigation into the March shooting is still ongoing, the Kittitas Police Dept. said. A report is expected in the next few weeks.

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