VANCOUVER, Wash. — On Friday night in Vancouver, dozens gathered on the track at Hudson's Bay High School to remember the life and service of Ofc. Donald Sahota. The group ran or walked four laps — an honor mile for the fallen officer.
"As I was going by, I'm thinking oh my," said Jay Kitchin, who attended the run. "I didn't utter a word... I was praying as I went around. I haven't met his wife, or his children or his family, but now I'm starting to get emotional thinking about it again."
Kitchin, like many, didn't know Ofc. Sahota, but he felt the impact of his unexpected passing.
"My first thought was, how could this possibly... how could it possibly happen?"
Last weekend, Sahota was shot and killed outside his Ridgefield home by a Clark County deputy. The deputy apparently mistook Sahota for a robbery suspect that had fled to Sahota's home and attacked him.
"When I first heard it had happened, I broke down in tears," said Jason Hattrick, who organized the event.
Hattrick is the founder of Kindness 911, a nonprofit that connects law enforcement and fire departments with the communities they serve, and highlighting acts of kindness.
"I never got to meet Don. However, several of my officers have reached out to me who are very, very close to Don," he said. "All I've ever heard was what an amazing human being he was — on duty, off duty, it didn't matter. Great dad, great husband. He was a great human being."
Hattrick said he hoped the milelong run helps the community and first responders begin to process the grief and the loss.
"The importance of tonight truly is, we are bringing community together because people need people to heal. Relationships are powerful, and healing in isolation is really hard.
"I don't know how many people are here walking the track tonight. It's powerful. You don't do it for numbers. You don't do it for likes. But you do it for every single heartbeat that's walking the track."