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CO shot, killed off duty; Wash. police arrest suspect

Dan Spaeth, 22, was killed in “what appears to be a senseless act of violence” as he attempted to slow vehicle traffic for deer crossing the road

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By Paul Roberts
The Seattle Times

SEATTLE — A 22-year-old man was arrested Friday in connection with the fatal drive-by shooting of a state department of corrections officer east of Lake Stevens, according to police and state officials.

Thursday evening, Snohomish County sheriff’s deputies responded to reports of gunfire in the 1600 block of South Machias Road. When they arrived, they found a man in his 30s, dead, according to a Friday news release from the Sheriff’s Office.

The victim, Dan Spaeth, had worked as a corrections officer at the Monroe Correctional Complex for around 18 months, state Department of Corrections spokesperson Chris Wright confirmed Saturday.

“The agency is shocked and saddened by this loss, and trying to make sense of what appears to be a senseless act of violence,” Wright said.

Detectives were looking for any witnesses in the area around 7:40 p.m. Thursday who may have seen Spaeth and a woman “attempting to slow vehicle traffic on South Machias Road for deer crossing,” according to a second news release.

The Sheriff’s Office hasn’t released the name of the man they arrested around 3 p.m. Friday. The suspect reportedly fled the shooting scene in a silver 2001 Lexus GS300, which has since been located and impounded, the Sheriff’s Office reported.

Investigators are also seeking anyone who saw the Lexus in the area before or after the shooting. And they are hoping to speak with occupants of a dark-colored Jeep Grand Cherokee that was reportedly in front of the suspect’s car, sheriff’s spokesperson Lt. Jason Tift said.

Tift said investigators regard the Cherokee’s occupants not as suspects but “possibly witnesses.” The Sheriff’s Office does not believe there is a continued danger to the community, Tift noted.

Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s tip line at 425-388-3845.

A GoFundMe has been set up “to help the Spaeth family in this very difficult time and the difficult times to come,” according to the organizer.

“Our community is diminished with the loss of Dan,” wrote a commenter on the GoFundMe site. “He will be missed.”

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