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In freak accident, deputy fatally shoots off-duty officer in his own home: Report

Image source: KGW-TV video screenshot

A Washington deputy fatally shot an off-duty police officer at his home on Saturday night after the officer attempted to fight off an armed robbery suspect, Fox News reported on Monday.

What are the details?

The unnamed Clark County sheriff's deputy was responding to a call for an armed robbery at an area convenience store when the suspect was said to have fled from the scene in a stolen vehicle.

The deputy tracked the suspect, who eventually abandoned the purportedly stolen vehicle and began running from the officer to take shelter in a nearby home.

The suspect, who has not been named at the time of this report, chose the residence of 52-year-old Donald Sahota, an officer for the Vancouver Police Department.

Realizing his home was about to be invaded, Sahota armed himself and attempted to detain the suspect, but the suspect engaged him in a scuffle, which left Sahota — who had been disarmed in the fight — with several stab wounds. After the suspect took the upper hand, he reportedly rushed toward Sahota's home, where his wife was on the phone with police to report the unfolding crime.

Sahota was able to recover his weapon and began chasing after the suspect once more, but the unnamed deputy — who'd just arrived at the scene — opened fire and struck Sahota, not realizing he was the homeowner and not the suspect.

The officer died on the front porch of his family home.

"My heart goes out to Officer Sahota’s family and friends and those of us in his VPD family as well," Vancouver Police Chief James McElvain said in a statement on the officer's death. "His death is a tragic loss, and he will be deeply missed by many."

The suspect was taken into custody without incident. Police have yet to announce charges the suspect is facing in connection with the incident.

The Lower Columbia Major Crimes Team is investigating the incident.

Gresham Police Chief Travis Gullberg said that Sahota was a "kind and thoughtful person."

"[S]omeone," he added, "we will always remember for his tenacious work ethic and commitment to bringing justice to victims and their families. We are grieving his loss and the entire situation. Our thoughts are with his family, friends, coworkers, and the entire Washington law enforcement community."

On Sunday, Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle issued the following statement:

Early Sunday morning we lost a member of our police community. I am heartbroken by the loss of Officer Donald Sahota. My thoughts are with his family, friends, and all those he served with. The sudden death of Officer Sahota is devastating, and we don’t have all the details of what occurred. I hope the community will join me as we hold Officer Sahota’s family and our law enforcement community in our thoughts and hearts.
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