VANCOUVER, Wash. — A pair of probable cause affidavits released Monday include the name of the suspect in a robbery and car chase that ultimately culminated in an altercation in which a Clark County Sheriff's deputy mistakenly shot and killed off-duty Vancouver Police Officer Donald Sahota on Saturday night.
Julio Cesar Segura, 20, was arrested on charges of first-degree attempted murder, first-degree robbery, first-degree burglary, third-degree assault, possession of a stolen vehicle and attempting to elude police. Segura is currently in the Clark County Jail and his bail has been set at $5 million, according to a news release from the Kelso Police Department. He is scheduled to appear in court Feb. 11 for an arraignment.
A statement included in the probable cause affidavits also sheds more light on the circumstances that led up to the shooting. The statement draws from two main sources: a report filed by Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy James Lawrence, who is listed as the arresting officer, and a post-arrest interview with Segura conducted by Kelso Police Detective Craig Christianson. The statement does not identify which deputy shot Sahota.
The initial robbery took place at a Chevron gas station convenience store in the Orchards area of Clark County. Segura told Christianson he waited outside the convenience store until he thought it was the most opportune time to commit the robbery, and he then pointed a pistol at the store clerk and demanded money.
Segura said at the time of the robbery he was armed with an airsoft pistol that resembled a Glock. The clerk gave him all the cash — Kelso police said it was "several hundred dollars" — and Segura then drove away in a Mercedes he had stolen from a dealer in Yakima. He told police he intended to flee to Seattle, according to the affidavit.
Lawrence states in his report that he was returning from a call in Washougal at the time and heard another deputy describe an armed robbery suspect, later identified as Segura, over the radio. Another deputy said he was in pursuit of the suspect's vehicle on Interstate 205 northbound, so Lawrence also headed north on the freeway.
Police used spike strips to stop the vehicle after it exited the freeway near Battle Ground, according to an initial press release on Sunday from the Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team, and the suspect ditched the vehicle and ran away. Lawrence wrote that he headed for Battle Ground after hearing that the suspect was on foot in the area.
A woman, later identified as Donald Sahota's wife, Dawnise Sahota, called 911 to report that a stranger was pounding on the front door of her house in Battle Ground, saying that he had just been involved in a crash and needed help.
She told dispatch that her husband was an off-duty Vancouver police officer and had gone out to the driveway to try to detain the suspect, according to the initial press release.
Police had both a drone and a plane surveilling the area, according to the affidavit, and the aerial video footage showed the homeowner and suspect – later identified as Sahota and Segura – struggling in the driveway, according to the affidavit.
An object fell to the ground during the fight and was later identified as a pistol, according to the affidavit, and the initial press release said Sahota lost control of his firearm and was stabbed during the struggle.
Segura later told police that he had stabbed Sahota at least three times in the torso while they were fighting, according to the affidavit, and said he knew Sahota was a police officer at the time because he had identified himself.
Lawrence later reported seeing multiple wounds on Sahota's torso that were "consistent with knife wounds," and Segura later told police he believed he had killed Sahota.
When deputies began to arrive at the scene, Segura ran into the house, still armed with a knife. Dawnese Sahota had attempted to lock the door to keep him out, according to the affidavit, but he was able to force his way through, injuring Dawnese Sahota when the door struck her forehead. She was later taken to a hospital and treated, but the full extent of her injuries are still unknown.
When Segura ran for the house, Donald Sahota stood up, grabbed the pistol that had fallen to the ground and pursued him. Seconds after arriving on the scene, one of the Clark County deputies fired several rounds from a rifle and hit Sahota, according to the original press release. Sahota reportedly collapsed on the front porch.
Lawrence reported hearing two gunshots after he pulled up, just before he exited his car, according to the affidavit. He moved up to where other officers were "challenging a subject on the front porch." At that point the suspect, later identified as Segura, stuck his hands out the front door and then exited the house.
"Realizing Segura was the suspect and it was the resident who was shot, we quickly took Segura into custody," Lawrence wrote. Sahota died at the scene, according to the initial press release.