The Clark County sheriff’s deputy who mistakenly shot and killed off-duty Vancouver police Officer Donald Sahota was identified by investigators Tuesday as Jonathan Feller.
Sahota, 52, died from gunshot wounds to the torso, the Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office announced earlier Tuesday. His death was ruled a homicide, meaning it resulted from another person’s deliberate action. The ruling does not make any judgments about criminal culpability.
Investigators say Feller mistakenly shot Sahota at his home near Battle Ground during a manhunt for a robbery suspect Saturday night.
Feller was placed on critical incident leave, standard procedure in a use-of-force incident, according to the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team from Cowlitz County, which is investigating the shooting.
In October 2020, Feller was one of three Clark County deputies who fatally shot Kevin Peterson Jr., a 21-year-old Black man, as he ran, armed with a handgun, from a planned drug sale of Xanax pills outside a Quality Inn motel in Hazel Dell. The shooting occurred in the parking lot of a shuttered U.S. Bank branch adjacent to the motel. The Pierce County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office reviewed the shooting and found Feller and the other deputies’ use of deadly force was justified and lawful.
Feller has been with the Clark County Sheriff’s Office since 2018 and previously worked for an agency in South Dakota, according to the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team.
On Saturday night, Clark County deputies pursued the robbery suspect, identified as 20-year-old Julio Cesar Segura of Yakima, from Orchards to Battle Ground, before the man ran from his immobilized car to Sahota’s house, according to a statement from the major crimes team.
Sahota’s wife called 911 to report that a stranger had pounded on her family’s front door asking for help because he’d just crashed his car. The man, later identified as Segura, matched the description of the robbery suspect, investigators said.
She also told dispatch that her husband was an off-duty police officer and was holding Segura at gunpoint, according to court records.
The men began struggling in the driveway. Sahota lost control of his firearm, and Segura stabbed him at least three times in the torso before breaking free and running toward Sahota’s house, according to investigators and court records.
When a deputy and at least two additional law enforcement officers arrived, Sahota had regained control of his firearm and was running after Segura, who was still armed with the knife, as he tried to force his way into the home, investigators said.
“Within seconds of responding law enforcement officers arriving on scene, one Clark County deputy sheriff fired several rounds from a rifle, striking the off-duty officer,” according to a statement from investigators. “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.”
Sahota is survived by his wife and two children. He worked with the Vancouver Police Department since April 2014. He worked in patrol, served as an emergency vehicle operations instructor and an armorer, and was most recently assigned to the training unit, according to the police department.