Corrections Officer Shot and Killed While Helping Deer Cross the Road

SNOHOMISH COUNTY, Wash. — A 22-year-old man has been charged with second-degree murder for the drive-by shooting that killed a Snohomish County corrections officer. The officer was tragically shot and killed while attempting to help a deer cross the road. The incident occurred on South Machias Road in unincorporated Snohomish County on the evening of September 7.

According to probable cause documents, the officer and his wife were trying to slow down traffic in both directions to ensure the deer’s safe passage. The victim’s wife stated that drivers often speed along that road. She and her husband were not in the roadway at the time of the shooting.

The victim’s wife and a neighbor witnessed the incident and described the vehicles involved as a green Jeep Cherokee, followed by a four-door sedan with rear-end damage. The suspect, identified as Dylan Picard, was driving the sedan and was armed with a black and white firearm equipped with a light and laser attachment.

Deputies from the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office arrived at the scene and found bystanders attempting to save the victim’s life. Despite their efforts, the officer was pronounced dead shortly after 8 p.m. Surveillance video from a nearby restaurant captured the dark-colored Jeep Cherokee and the silver or light-colored sedan driving past.

The following day, an off-duty deputy spotted a vehicle matching the description of Picard’s car in Lake Stevens. Deputies and police officers took him into custody. During the interview, Picard admitted to shooting the officer and revealed that the firearm used in the crime was in his vehicle. The weapon matched the description provided by the victim’s wife.

Picard claimed that he became scared when the officer approached his car and fired a shot to scare him and the woman accompanying him. However, body camera footage contradicted Picard’s statement.

The corrections officer killed in the shooting has been identified as Dan Spaeth. His family described him as someone who was born to make a difference in people’s lives and took pride in giving back to his community. Despite their loss, the family has chosen not to harbor anger or hatred towards the suspect.

Picard is currently in custody, facing charges of second-degree murder. Despite their loss, Spaeth’s family has expressed a refusal to harbor anger or hatred towards the suspect, stating that Spaeth’s light “still shines.”