Peaceful Valley, Washington (WCSO) — On Thursday, Feb 10, around 4:20 pm, deputies Ryan Rathbun and Jason Thompson responded to multiple 911 calls about two neighbors shooting at each other from different houses in the 3000 block of Green Valley Drive near Kendall. They arrived and from across the street attempted to talk to 60-year-old Joel Berck Young, who fired birdshot toward his neighbor. Young, who according to reports appeared intoxicated, waved his 12-gauge shotgun before firing at both deputies’ heads. Body cam footage shows the pair of deputies asking the suspect to come out of his home. After a verbal back and forth, Thompson is shot in the head first and goes down. Rathbun is then also shot in the head while checking on Thompson. Rathbun returns fire at the suspect.
Both remained conscious and were able to provide cover for a neighbor who stepped in and fired at Young to protect the deputies, while residents pulled the deputies into a neighbor’s garage and performed first aid. Young peacefully surrendered around 6 p.m. after the WCSO SWAT team surrounded his house. Young remains in Whatcom County Jail. He has been charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder, six counts of reckless endangerment, assault while armed with a firearm and felony harassment. Since, Rathbun and Thompson have undergone numerous medical procedures and treatments. Both recovered and returned to service a year later. On March 4, 2023, the two deputies, filed a suit against Joel Young for assault and battery of officer(s) Thompson and Rathbun in the line of duty. On May 5, 2023, they were awarded the Medal of Honor by the Washington State Attorney General’s Office during the Law Enforcement Medal Of Honor/Peace Officier Memorial Ceremony in Olympia.