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Robbery suspect charged with murder in incident that led to Clark County deputy mistakenly shooting Vancouver police officer

Julio Segura fought with Vancouver officer Donald Sahota, stabbing him multiple times. Sahota was then mistakenly shot by an arriving Clark County deputy.

VANCOUVER, Wash. — Julio Cesar Segura, the suspect in a robbery and assault that culminated in Clark County Deputy Jonathan Feller mistakenly shooting and killing Vancouver police officer Donald Sahota, has been charged with multiple counts of murder.

A notice filed Tuesday by state prosecutors in Clark County Superior Court lists eight charges against Segura: three counts of first-degree murder, one count of second-degree murder, one count of first-degree attempted murder, one count of first-degree attempted kidnapping, one count of first-degree burglary and one count of first-degree robbery.

Segura was initially reported to have been arrested on charges of attempted murder, robbery, burglary, assault, possession of a stolen vehicle and attempting to elude police, but the murder charges appear to have been added since then.

Segura made a scheduled court appearance on Wednesday morning but did not enter a plea. His arraignment was delayed to March 1.

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The circumstances of the incident were previously reported in a probable cause affidavit, but an amended probable cause sheet filed Tuesday includes additional details, particularly about the confrontation between Segura and Sahota in the moments before Feller arrived at the scene.

Segura allegedly robbed a gas station convenience store in east Vancouver, reportedly using a handgun, on the evening of Jan. 29 and was pursued by Clark County deputies northbound on Interstate 205.

He left the freeway and fled on foot after his car was disabled near Battle Ground, and deputies and officers from multiple agencies began setting up containment in the area. Sahota was off-duty and at home nearby at the time.

Police drone footage shows a subject — presumed to be Segura, although his face is not visible in the footage, according to the court filing — walking past Sahota's home, then abruptly turning back and running up to the front door. Segura later told police he turned back because he saw the drone.

Segura later told police a man answered the door, which according to the drone footage happened about 30 seconds after he arrived at the house. Segura and a resident can be seen on the footage conversing for about three minutes before the front door appears to close.

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Dispatchers answered a 911 call from Donald Sahota's wife, Dawnese Sahota, about a minute after the door opened, according to the court filing, in which she reported that a stranger had been knocking on the door and saying that he had crashed his car and needed help.

The drone footage then shows the subject leaving the front porch and walking away across the driveway. Dawnese Sahota can be overhead saying, "They are looking for somebody," on the 911 recording and Donald Sahota can be heard providing a description of the person.

About 21 seconds after the door closed, drone footage shows the suspect turn around and walking back. The front door opens and a resident presumed to be Donald Sahota exits, although his face is also not visible in the footage. The 911 audio records Dawnese Sahota saying, "He's trying to keep him here."

As the subject approaches the house, the drone footage shows the resident with their left arm extended horizontally in front of them, and the subject is seen raising their hands and backing away.

The footage shows the subject kneeling at the edge of the driveway and the resident pushing him face-down to the ground, which the court filing states was presumably Sahota attempting to arrest Segura.

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About 18 seconds later, the footage shows that the two began to struggle, and Dawnese Sahota can be heard on the 911 recording saying that they're fighting. 

The subjects stand and fall to the ground at least twice, and at one point an object that appears to resemble a handgun falls to the ground. One subject can be seen swinging their arm into the other, although the drone footage does not make it clear who is who, according to the court filing.

In a follow-up interview, Segura told police that Sahota had identified himself as a police officer when confronting him in the driveway and Segura believed him, stating, "Hold up, I just asked a cop to help me run from the cops." 

He stated that Sahota lost control of his gun during the fight and they had both been trying to get to it. Sahota got him in a chokehold, he said, at which point Segura pulled a folding knife out of his pocket and stabbed Sahota three times. Segura said he believed he had killed Sahota at that point, according to the court filing, and expressed regret in the interview for having done so.

A police plane arrived at the scene during the fight, and officers in the air advised others who were approaching the scene on the ground that the two subjects were fighting and something resembling a gun had fallen to the ground.

The fight lasted a little over a minute, after which one of the subjects broke free and ran into the house, shutting the door behind him. The door struck Dawnese Sahota in the head when Segura forced it open. The drone footage shows Feller's patrol car pulling up near the house at the same time.

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About four seconds later, the other figure is seen running over to the gun and picking it up, at which point one of the officers in the air said over the radio, "Be careful, it's a gun right there, I think he just picked it up."

The subject picks up the gun just as Feller pulls to a stop, and during the next 4 seconds runs to the front door and begins kicking it. At the same time, Feller can be seen taking position by his car and firing a rifle in the direction of the person on the porch, firing four shots in about four seconds.

Feller later told investigators that the person who he saw picking up the gun appeared to match the robbery suspect's description, and he fired his rifle because he was convinced that the man was the suspect and he was attempting to break into the house and harm the residents.

Officers and deputies who were arriving at the scene remained focused on the front door and the subject on the porch, who collapsed. 

About nine seconds after the last shot was fired, the garage door opened and Dawnese Sahota ran out toward the officers, shouting for help. She later told police that Segura had tried to grab her after forcing his way through the door and she ran and escaped through the garage.

About 30 seconds later, the front door opened. Officers on the porch later reported that at the time, they had been giving commands to the man who had been shot, believing him to be the suspect, and told the person who opened the door to go back inside, believing him to be Sahota.

About 20 seconds later, by which point the officers had realized that it was the suspect who had opened the door, Segura opened it again without prompting and raised his hands, exited the home and was arrested, according to the court filing.

At the same time, three officers ran to the porch and began providing life-saving measures on Sahota, but they were unsuccessful and he was pronounced dead at the scene. 

The Clark County Medical Examiner later determined that one of the three knife wounds was to the neck and would likely have been fatal without immediate proper medical attention, according to the filing, but concluded that Sahota died from the gunshot wounds first.

Segura's defense attorney requested bail be reduced from $5 million to $50,000 to reflect assault charges instead, but judge Nancy Retsinas rejected that.

"It is not difficult for the court to determine there is a significant risk to the community in this case," she said.

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