By Sharyn L. Decker
Lewis County Sirens news reporter
CHEHALIS – Derral Kenneth Mosby was wanted on two warrants, one in Lewis County and another out of Thurston County Superior Court.
But he also knew Lewis County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Sgt. Rob Snaza wanted to talk with him about as many as five burglaries ranging from Vader, to Adna and into Rochester.
Derral Kenneth Mosby
“We thought he might be pawning stuff,” Snaza said. And he believed law enforcement in Thurston County wanted to talk with him as well, Snaza said.
At the end of February, a warrant was issued after the 36-year-old Rochester man failed to appear in court for a drug possession case in Thurston County. At about the same time, a trafficking in stolen property charge was filed in Lewis County Superior Court, alleging a pearl necklace Mosby gave his 6-year-old daughter came from a burglary on Penning Road west of Chehalis.
A Lewis County judge signed a $25,000 arrest warrant.
The web site for the TV show Washington’s Most Wanted featured him shortly after, when Lewis County shared on its Facebook page they would like tips on the whereabouts of the 6-foot 8-inch tall subject who frequented the Centralia area and had ties to Ridgefield.
A week ago, following a standoff at his parents home near Ridgefield, the wanted man was dead.
“Shots were fired and Mosby was struck,” the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said.
His former neighbor in Rochester hadn’t spoken a word to him in a year, since the two of them had a disagreement about suspicions of Mosby cutting wood from his property to sell, and Mosby punched him the face one day.
But, said Bryan Fisher who previously considered Mosby a best friend, he’ll take off work early tomorrow to attend the funeral.
Mosby, who went by Kenny, was good person with a good heart and a devoted father to his 6-year-old daughter, with a yard full of play equipment he’d made for her, according to Fisher.
He used to work as a millwright at Cascade Hardwood but after he lost his job, he battled depression, Fisher said.
He’d lost his younger brother and when his sister committed suicide last July, he just went off the deep end, Fisher said.
“He was a really great guy, a really talented ballplayer in high school; he went to W.F. West and graduated from Rochester,” he said. “Before the drugs got to him, he was a pretty loyal guy.”
Others in the Rochester neighborhood began to get leery about things getting stolen as well, according to Fisher.
“The guy didn’t work for three years, and managed to keep food on his table,” he said.
Mosby’s house was foreclosed on earlier this year, he said.
According to court documents, back in November, someone kicked open a door at a home on Penning Road, west of Chehalis and took all the jewelry plus a camera from the master bedroom, but left two firearms in the bedroom closet.
Snaza said some of the other break-ins under investigation included similarly kicked in doors.
Court documents say a detective investigating a burglary on Clinton Road in Adna learned of a suspicious maroon truck and on Feb. 1, a deputy contacted Mosby in his maroon truck, parked in the middle of the night at state Route 6 and Schueber road .
Mosby said he couldn’t go home to Rochester, because of a retraining order involving ex-girlfriend, court documents state. He was talked to and let go, according to court documents.
Two weeks ago, law enforcement officers swarmed a rest area off Interstate 5, after, according to KATU TV in Portland, Mosby’s father called the state patrol, telling them his son had just called him and told him he was shot in the leg and was at the southbound Gee Creek rest area near Ridgefield.
Local law enforcement reached out to the Pacific Northwest Violent Offender Task Force, who helped look for Mosby that night, according to Supervisory Deputy U.S. Marshal Eric Wahlstrom in Portland.
And U.S. Marshals continued to search for Mosby, Wahlstrom said.
There were no federal warrants, only the two from Lewis and Thurston counties, he said.
“We tend to be the ones who are available to sit and surveil places,” he said.
Wahlstrom said the reasons they considered Mosby armed and dangerous were because they had information from family and friends that he had access to firearms, that he had said he had been shot that day and that he could have been suicidal.
Some leads took law enforcement to Albany, Ore. and then it was U.S. Marshals who searched a barn last Friday in the Ridgefield area and subsequently discovered Mosby was at his parents home, according to Wahlstrom. They called the Clark County Sheriff’s Office SWAT team, he said.
Sgt. Fred Neiman of the Clark County Sheriff’s Office said that after attempts to get Mosby to peaceably surrender, Mosby emerged from the residence, armed with a firearm and confronted SWAT team members. Mosby was hit, and deceased before the ambulance could take him to a hospital, according to Neiman.
Exactly how many shots were fired or who fired them or other similar details have not been revealed. Neiman said all of that will be released after an investigation conducted by an outside law enforcement team. And then the county prosecutor will make a determination about if deadly force was justified, he said.
Six members of the sheriff’s office, along with a patrol supervisor from the Battleground Police Department were all placed on what Neiman called critical incident leave.
Neiman said it was common practice after any traumatic incident. The last time he could recall multiple officers being put on the paid leave from a single event was a shooting incident in 2008 or 2009, he said. It’s not a disciplinary action, but an opportunity to “decompress,” he said.
Fisher said it was about the same time as the manhunt at the rest area, he found Mosby’s home in Rochester surrounded by deputies from Thurston County. He spoke with them, he said.
Deputies did want to talk with Mosby about burglaries, Fisher said.
“Kenny did not want to be caught,” he said.
SWAT activity for wanted subject near Ridgefield on March 14. / Courtesy photo by Clark County Sheriff’s Office