PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Vancouver police officer Donald Sahota died from “gunshot wounds of the torso,” the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office said.
Sahota, 52, was shot by a Clark County deputy who apparently mistook Sahota for an armed robbery suspect. The suspect, Julio Cesar Segura, ran off after his stolen Mercedes was disabled by deputies pursuing him and ended up at Sahota’s home.
Sahota and Segura struggled, physically, outside Sahota’s home in Battle Ground. Segura stabbed Sahota, who then chased Segura toward his house. At that moment, deputies arrived and shot Sahota on his front porch.
The medical examiner ruled the death a homicide, which is death at the hands of another. The release from the Medical Examiner’s office said Sahota was “shot by other person(s).”
Later Tuesday, the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team investigating the incident identified the deputy who shot Sahota.
Deputy Jonathan Feller has been with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since 2018 after coming from South Dakota.
In October 2020, “Feller was one of three deputies involved in a use of force incident in Clark County, Washington. That investigation was reviewed by the Pierce County, Washington Prosecuting Attorney’s Office,” the investigators said in a release.
That incident was the fatal shooting of Kevin Peterson during a drug sting. That shooting was ruled justified. One of the other deputies involved was Jeremy Brown, who was killed in the line of duty in July 2021.
Following Sahota’s death, Deputy Feller was immediately placed on critical incident leave, which is routine procedure in any incident that results in injury or death.
What led to the shooting
Newly obtained court documents show investigators believe Segura robbed a convenience store around 8 p.m. Saturday evening, then took off in a stolen Mercedes.
Twelve minutes later, police intercepted the suspect headed north on I-205, but he didn’t stop. He managed to elude the police for several miles until spike strips disabled his car when he got off I-5 headed to Battle Ground.
Sahota’s wife called 911 and reported a man who matched the robber’s description was “pounding on their front door asking for assistance because he had just been involved in a collision,” officials said in a release.
The caller said her husband was an off-duty armed Vancouver police officer, Donald Sahota, who went to confront the suspect and detain him until the police arrived.
But Segura and Sahota physically fought, investigators said. Sahota was stabbed and lost control of his gun. Segura ran toward the house, still holding what he used to stab Sahota, while his wife was still on the phone with 911.
Sahota got his gun back and ran after the suspect. Just as he did this, deputies arrived at the scene. A Clark County deputy, mistaking Sahota for the suspect, “fired several rounds from a rifle,” investigators said late Sunday night.
Segura surrendered at the scene. He is facing charges of attempted murder, robbery, burglary, stealing a car, and eluding officers and is being held on $5 million bail.