CLARK COUNTY, Wash. — A grieving family and the Vancouver Police Department (VPD) are receiving help from a Washington nonprofit after an officer was shot and killed the last weekend of January.
The case has drawn widespread attention, since the off-duty officer was mistakenly shot outside his home by a Clark County deputy during pursuit of an armed robbery suspect.
"The loss of an officer is substantial, and this department has never lost an officer," said Brian Johnston, a former police sergeant and current executive director of Behind the Badge Foundation. "Probably will be the most traumatic thing that they've ever dealt with."
The Washington nonprofit honors fallen or injured law enforcement officers.
It is now working to provide financial and emotional support to VPD staff and the fallen officer's family.
"Extremely grieving department and very wonderful group of people who are hurting," Johnston described. "And they're still out there working."
RELATED: Police identify suspect in robbery that led to fatal shooting of Vancouver police officer by Clark County deputy
The incident started in Vancouver just after 8 p.m. Saturday.
Investigators said Julio Cesar Segura, 20, of Yakima robbed a clerk at a convenience store on Northeast 117th, then took off north in a stolen car.
Segura ended up in a remote area outside off-duty officer Donald Sahota's home in Ridgefield.
Sahota confronted Segura and identified himself as an officer. The two got into a fight.
Segura admitted to investigators he used a knife to repeatedly stab Sahota in the torso, and believed that he killed the officer.
By this point, Ofc. Sahota's wife inside the home had alerted 911 that her husband was an armed officer outside.
Within seconds of Clark County deputies arriving, court documents said:
"Segura fled into the residence. Sahota stood up, grabbed [Sahota's] pistol and pursued Segura. One of the responding deputies fired shots, striking Sahota, who was on the porch."
Segura then surrendered, and responders realized the wrong person was shot. They tried to revive Sahota, who died.
The Clark County Medical Examiner's office conducted an autopsy and announced on Tuesday that Sahota's official cause of death was "gunshot wounds of torso."
"This family has witnessed this up front and personal," Johnston said.
Behind the Badge is working with VPD to organize a memorial service for Sahota soon, but does not have a set date yet.
Segura appeared in Clark County court Monday, charged with attempted murder, robbery, burglary, assault, possession of a stolen vehicle and eluding police. He is being held on $5 million bail.
In the meantime, Behind the Badge said it plans to assist Sahota's family over the next year and a half to attend recognition events of fallen officers in Olympia and D.C.
"As they are navigating the days, weeks and even years to come," Johnston said.