A Clark County Sheriff’s Office deputy fired his rifle within seconds of arriving at the home of an off-duty Vancouver police officer whom the deputy mistakenly shot and killed, a newly public investigation shows.
Video footage shows that within four seconds, Deputy Jonathan Feller parked his SUV, opened his door, then turned and opened fire at Vancouver Officer Donald Sahota. Feller fired four shots from a rifle and struck Sahota three times.
Watch a compilation of law-enforcement videos, below:
The Jan. 29 shooting — as well as Sahota’s fierce fight with armed robbery suspect Julio Cesar Segura, who Feller believed he was firing upon — was captured and recorded in its entirety via a drone deployed by deputies.
The footage became public on Friday alongside several hundreds of pages of documents, audio of 911 calls and interviews with involved people and witnesses that comprised the full investigation into the shooting.
According to investigators, Segura arrived at Sahota’s rural Battle Ground, Washington, home after leading Clark County deputies on a high-speed chase. They suspected him of robbing a convenience store with a replica handgun.
Video shows Segura, 20, approaching Sahota’s home around 9 p.m. and knocking on the door. The home is at the end of a private road, dark and heavily wooded.
After a few moments at the door, Segura is seen walking away toward the driveway. Sahota, 52, soon follows him out, appears to point a gun at him and orders Segura on the ground to be detained.
The two men then fight. Court documents and prosecutors say Segura stabbed Sahota three times in the encounter. The video footage shows an object, later identified as Sahota’s handgun, falling to the ground as Segura and Sahota struggle.
Segura, the footage shows, eventually runs back and into Sahota’s home through the front door. Sahota turns back to pick up the gun as Feller, the deputy, arrives in his SUV. Sahota, with the gun in hand, turns back to follow Segura into the house.
That’s when Feller parks and fires.
In an interview with investigators, the deputy said Sahota matched much of the descriptions that had been broadcast over the radio describing Segura. On the audiotape of the interview, Feller sobs as he recounts that night.
“I pull up to the front of the house, and I see a male who generally matches the last update that I had: tan-skinned male, white-black combination of shirt and jeans, that person is running back towards what I see is a gun laying on the ground,” Feller told investigators.
“As I pull up, that person reaches out and goes for the gun. As he does that, he looks right at me. But it’s all very fluid, very fast,” Feller continued.
Feller told investigators that, as Sahota ran toward the door and was “actively trying to get in the door,” he yelled for him to get on the ground. At least one other officer told investigators they also heard Feller order Sahota down.
Feller, who drove to the scene after hearing about a high-speed chase over his police radio, said he was aware that the suspect was fighting with the homeowner and that there was at least one gun involved.
“I believed if that person got in the house, they’d kill them,” Feller said. “I had to stop that person from hurting innocent people. So I fired my gun multiple times.”
The video footage shows Sahota’s wife leaving the house through the garage door after the shooting. Moments later, Segura exits the house through the front door and surrenders.
In his interview, Feller said he became disoriented upon learning he shot the wrong person. When Segura exited the house, Feller recounted, another deputy yelled “that’s the suspect.”
“And then I realized … I’d shot the homeowner,” Feller said. “Things after that got a little blurry. … I don’t remember much after that.”
Feller is not currently facing criminal charges. The investigation is set to be reviewed by outside prosecutors who will determine whether or not the shooting was justified.
Segura is currently facing multiple felony charges, including murder. The 20-year-old stabbed Sahota three times in the fight, which prosecutors believe could have been life-threatening.
The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office concluded Sahota died from gunshot wounds to the torso.
The investigation was conducted by a patchwork of agencies from Cowlitz County. It had been completed on March 4. The investigation became public despite an attempt by Segura’s defense attorneys to block its release, arguing that news coverage could taint his chances of a fair trial.
This story may be updated.