Battle Ground, WA – Vancouver Police Department (VPD) Officer Donald Sahota died on Jan. 29 after being shot by a Clark County deputy who was trying to apprehend an armed robbery suspect.
The series of events leading up to the 52-year-old officer’s death began at approximately 8:15 p.m., 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 Clark County Sheriff’s Office (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 the officer did not survive.
The suspect surrendered shortly thereafter and was arrested, KOIN reported.
He was later identified as 20-year-old Juilio Cesar Segura, according to The Oregonian.
Segura allegedly told detectives he intentionally stabbed Officer Sahota in the torso at least three times.
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 burglary, first-degree robbery, first-degree attempted murder, attempt to elude, and possession of a stolen vehicle, according to The Oregonian.
His bond was set at $5 million.
The Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team is handling the ongoing investigation into the incident, according to KPTV.
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.
Officer Sahota’s daughter, Kylie, said that her family will always remember him as a hero, according to KATU.
“My heart goes out to Officer Sahota’s family and friends and those of us in his VPD family as well,” Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain said. “His death is a tragic loss, and he will be deeply missed by many.”
Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle said the entire incident has been “devastating.”
“I hope the community will join me as we hold Officer Sahota’s family and our law enforcement community in our thoughts and hearts,” McEnerny-Ogle said, according to KPTV.
Officer Donald Sahota died Saturday night. @ClarkCoSheriff says one of their deputies shot him in a case of mistaken identity. It’s a tragic and complicated story. Watch #gooddayoregon #fox12oregon @VancouverPDUSA pic.twitter.com/nc7COisSiW
— Marilyn Deutsch (@marilyndeutsch) January 31, 2022
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Vancouver Police Department Officer Donald Sahota, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.