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Felon Accused Of Murdering Everett Police Officer ‘Rolled His Eyes’ While Being Arrested, Police Say

Everett, WA – The convicted felon accused of shooting Everett Police Officer Dan Rocha in the head and running over his body was ordered to be held on $5 million bail on Monday.

Richard James Rotter, 50, appeared before a Snohomish County judge on March 28, KING reported.

Rotter, who has at least 18 felonies on his record, had not been formally charged by prosecutors, but the judge determined there was probable cause for second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm and first-degree murder during the hearing on Monday.

The court also set a charging deadline of March 29, KING reported.

Snohomish County Prosecutor Adam Cornell said his office is “ardently committed to providing the full measure of justice that is possible through the criminal legal system to Officer Rocha’s family and loved ones,” KING reported.

“The prosecution team will dedicate an unwavering commitment of time, talent, and resources from now until the conclusion of the case,” Cornell added.

According to court documents, the interaction between Rotter and 41-year-old Officer Rocha began when the officer spotted Rotter “moving guns from one car to another” in a Starbucks parking lot located in the 1000-block of Broadway Avenue at approximately 2 p.m. on March 25.

Officer Rocha made contact with Rotter and was soon advised by police dispatch that Rotter was a convicted felon with outstanding warrants for his arrest for offenses including hit-and-run and domestic violence, KING reported.

Cell phone footage showed Officer Rocha attempting to take the suspect into custody when Rotter suddenly began to “wrestle” with him, according to court documents.

Police said the officer and the suspect fell to the ground, at which point Rotter pulled out a handgun and fired at least two rounds at Officer Rocha’s head, KING reported.

Rotter then allegedly jumped behind the wheel of his Mini Cooper and backed over the mortally-wounded officer before speeding away, another clip showed.

Additional officers responded to the area and spotted the fleeing suspect blowing through traffic lights, KING reported.

They chased Rotter briefly before he crashed into multiple vehicles near Rucker Avenue and 35th Street, KOMO reported.

A white van was flipped onto its side in the collision.

Police said the suspect emerged from the crash with minor injuries and simply “rolled his eyes” when he was placed under arrest, KING reported.

Rotter was taken to the hospital for treatment before being booked into the Snohomish County Jail, according to KOMO.

Kennewick police said they have had hundreds of contacts with Rotter over the years.

According to Washington State Patrol records, his prior criminal history includes 18 felonies, 12 gross misdemeanors, and 11 misdemeanors, KING reported.

The Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team (SMART) is handling the ongoing investigation into the fatal incident, the EPD said in a press release on March 25.

“It is with great sorrow that we inform our community that Officer Dan Rocha was killed today in the line of duty,” the EPD’s post read. “Our department and all its members are appreciative for the support that our community and fellow law enforcement agencies have shown us during this time.”

Officer Rocha joined the EPD in 2017 and worked in parking enforcement before becoming a fully-commissioned police officer the following year.

He spent most of his career working in the North Everett area.

The EPD said Officer Rocha “was well respected by both the community and his fellow officers.”

“His loss will forever leave a void in our agency and our community,” the police department said.

Officer Rocha leaves behind his wife, two sons, and a large extended family.

“Please keep them in your thoughts during this extremely difficult time,” the EPD said.

Everett Police Chief Dan Templeman said the agency has established a memorial fund and is planning a ceremony to honor Officer Rocha, KOMO reported.

“He was a great man, a great father (and) a great husband,” Chief Templeman said. “His crew members loved working with him (and) he loved his job.”

Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin released a statement in the wake of the beloved officer’s murder, according to KOMO.

“I am devastated by the loss of our Officer Dan Rocha, a valued member of our Everett Police Department who was killed today in the line of duty,” Franklin wrote. “My heart goes out to his family and loved ones, as well as our entire Everett Police Department grieving this senseless loss.

SMART spokesperson Courtney O’Keefe called the officer’s death “absolutely tragic (and) devastating,” according to KOMO.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and the Everett Police Department,” O’Keefe said.

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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