Investigation sheds new light on accidental slaying of Vancouver officer at the hands of police
An off-duty Vancouver Police Officer, Donald Sahota, was shot to death Sunday by a Clark County Sheriff’s deputy.
In the early hours of the morning, Clark County reported an officer involved shooting near the Columbia River following pursuit of an armed robbery suspect. At roughly the same time, the Vancouver Police Department reported that deputy Sahota had been shot dead in the same location.
An investigation has determined that Sahota was not the suspect, but merely was caught in crossfire in a bizarre turn of events.
Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team reports that a suspect, a 24-year old male, committed an armed robbery at a gas station in Vancouver late Saturday evening.
The suspect fled with “several hundred dollars” and was intercepted by police on I-205. The suspect refused to submit to arrest, and traveled north toward the city of Battle Ground.
Police deployed a spike strip, forcing the suspect to flee on foot, at which point the suspect began “pounding on the front door” of a local home. That was the home of off-duty officer Sahota, where the suspect was reportedly “asking for assistance.”
Sahota exited the residence, armed, to detain the suspect. A struggle ensued, at which point Sahota lost his firearm and was stabbed with a knife, with the suspect headed back toward Sahota’s home.
The officer regained control of his firearm, running after the suspect. Clark County police arrived, and fired several rounds from a rifle, striking the off-duty officer. The suspect then surrendered to police without incident.
The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed that Sahota, 52, died of gunshot wounds to the chest.
“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 wrote in a news release. “His death is a tragic loss, and he will be deeply missed by many.”