SNOHOMISH — Police say a Lake Stevens man acknowledged shooting a Monroe prison employee to death after the off-duty officer tried to slow the man’s car to avoid hitting a deer in the road.
Around 7:45 p.m. on Thursday, police responded to the 1600 block of South Machias Road north of Snohomish after a woman reported her husband had been shot.
Authorities found the man with a gunshot wound to his chest. He died at the scene.
Police arrested Dylan Picard, 22, the day after the shooting. On Monday, Everett District Court Commissioner Jennifer Millett found probable cause for second-degree murder and set bail at $500,000.
A spokesperson for the state Department of Corrections confirmed the deceased, Dan Spaeth, was a corrections officer at the Monroe Correctional Complex. An online fundraiser for Spaeth’s family had brought in over $20,000 by Monday morning.
Spaeth and his wife were in their driveway, trying to slow traffic because there was a deer crossing the street, the wife told police. The area is prone to speeding traffic.
The woman reported hearing several cars speed by when she heard a “pop” and saw her husband lying in the road, shot.
She also described seeing a Jeep and a sedan. Deputies obtained video footage from a nearby business that showed both vehicles.
Around 2:30 p.m. Friday, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy saw a car matching the sedan near Hartford Drive and 131st Avenue NE in Lake Stevens, according to the police report. The car, an older Lexus with no bumper and a tailpipe hanging off of it, was registered to Picard.
Investigators pulled the car over and arrested Picard.
Officers reportedly asked the suspect if he knew why he was being detained.
“I shot somebody,” he told police, according to court papers.
Picard said he was “driving around the area,” the previous night when a Jeep in front of him slowed. He reported a man and woman were in the street. The man was yelling and hit the Jeep with his hands, police wrote.
The suspect said he grabbed his gun because “he was scared.” Picard told detectives the man then came running toward his car.
Picard reported firing one shot to “scare” Spaeth and his wife.
He “acknowledged that he could have and indicated he should have,” driven around the couple, detectives wrote.
After the shooting, Picard said he drove around all night. He tried to sleep in his car.
When detectives told Picard that Spaeth had died, he cried. He was transported to Snohomish County Jail and booked on allegations of second-degree murder.
Picard has no felony criminal history.