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Deputy Who Killed Off-Duty Cop He Mistook For Armed Robber Won’t Be Criminally Charged

Clark County, WA – The Clark County sheriff’s deputy who fatally shot an off-duty Vancouver police officer after mistaking him for an armed robbery suspect will not face criminal charges.

Clark County Prosecutor Tony Golik announced his decision in a letter to Clark County Sheriff John Horch on Jan. 12, The Columbian reported.

Golik’s decision not to charge Clark County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Deputy Jonathan Feller in the Jan. 29, 2022 shooting death of off-duty Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Officer Donald Sahota came after a panel of prosecutors that was convened to determine whether Deputy Feller’s use of force was reasonable failed to reach a consensus.

Golik said his office reviewed the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team’s independent investigation into the shooting, as well as the 11-page opinion put together by the panel of prosecutors, to aid in rendering the final decision, The Columbian reported.

“The result of Deputy Feller’s use of deadly force in this case was incredibly tragic,” Golik’s letter to Sheriff Horch read. “However, the facts support a finding that Deputy Feller made a mistake that a reasonable officer could have made in the same situation.”

The CCSO confirmed having received the letter from the prosecutor’s office on Thursday, The Columbian reported.

“We have and will continue to provide support to Deputy Feller,” the agency said.

The CCSO said it will not comment further on the case until the robbery suspect, 21-year-old Julio Segura, has stood trial, KATU reported.

“CCSO likewise will not make further comment on this incident until after the prosecution has concluded in this case, other than to say again that our thoughts, prayers, and support remain with the friends and family of Vancouver Police Officer Donald Sahota and the Vancouver Police Department,” the sheriff’s office said.

Deputy Feller was placed on administrative leave in the wake of the shooting and returned to administrative duty in July of 2022, The Columbian reported.

The series of events leading to 52-year-old Officer Sahota’s death began at approximately 8:15 p.m. on Jan. 29, 2022, when a man barged into a Chevron convenience store in the Orchards area, pointed a gun at the clerk, and demanded money, KOIN reported.

“A dude walks in at 8:15, pulls a pistol out of his pocket, aims it at my chest, hand over the slide and tells me to empty out the register,” the clerk later told the news outlet. “I thought I was getting punked. It might have been fake. I looked for an orange tip to make sure it wasn’t an Airsoft.”

The suspect grabbed the cash and jumped into a “midnight blue Mercedes,” then “sped out of the parking lot,” the clerk said.

“I just called the cops and the boss lady to sort out what happened and get footage for the cops,” he told KOIN. “The cops were here by the time I was done with the dispatcher.”

Officers spotted the suspect vehicle northbound on Interstate 205 just 12 minutes later, but he refused to pull over.

They pursued the suspect for several miles before he exited the interstate towards Battle Ground, where officers disabled his vehicle with spike strips, KOIN reported.

The gunman bailed out of the car and took off on foot, according to police.

He headed into a wooded area of Battle Ground, where he went door-to-door, looking for a place to hide, KGW reported.

As officers were setting up a containment perimeter, a woman called 911 to report a man who matched the description of the suspect they were looking for was “pounding on their front door asking for assistance because he had just been involved in a collision,” police said, according to KOIN.

The caller explained that her husband, off-duty Officer Sahota, was outside trying to detain the suspect until officers could respond.

When Officer Sahota went out to confront the gunman, the suspect began fighting with him, KOIN reported.

Police said the suspect repeatedly stabbed the 52-year-old officer, who lost control of his firearm.

The armed suspect left Officer Sahota outside and ran into the house, still armed with the weapon he used to stab him, according to police.

Officer Sahota’s wife was still on the phone with the 911 dispatcher when the suspect barged in.

The wounded officer was able to locate his gun and was trying to run into his home to protect his family when CCSO deputies arrived at the scene, KPTV reported.

Investigators said one of the deputies mistook Officer Sahota for the suspect, and “fired several rounds” at him with his rifle, according to KOIN.

“The off-duty officer/homeowner collapsed on his front porch before responding officers were able to determine he was the homeowner and not the alleged robbery suspect,” the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team said in a press release, according to KGW.

Deputies immediately rendered aid, but Officer Sahota did not survive.

The suspect – later identified as Segura – surrendered shortly thereafter and was arrested, KOIN reported.

Segura allegedly told detectives he intentionally stabbed Officer Sahota in the torso at least three times, according to The Oregonian.

He also allegedly confessed that he knew the victim he was stabbing was a police officer because Officer Sahota had identified himself as a cop as they were fighting, police said.

Investigators said the suspect told them he believed Officer Sahota was dead, and that he ran into the house when he heard emergency sirens approaching, according to The Oregonian.

Segura said he forced the door open and hit Officer Sahota’s wife in the forehead with it, injuring her, according to police.

Segura has been charged with murder and attempted murder, as well as other charges, The Columbian reported.

His trial is scheduled to take place in Clark County Superior Court later this year.

Officer Sahota served the Port of Portland Police Department and the Gresham Police Department before joining the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) in April of 2014.

“During his career with the Vancouver Police Department, Officer Sahota worked in patrol, served as an EVOC instructor, an armorer, and was most recently assigned to the Training Unit,” the VPS said, according to KATU.

He is survived by his wife and two children, KPTV reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

View all articles
Written by Holly Matkin

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