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Washington man fatally shot while trying to help deer cross the road

Dylan Picard, 22, has been charged with second-degree murder in the Sept. 7 slaying.

A Washington man was fatally shot while trying to help deer cross the road, authorities said.

Daniel Spaeth, a 37-year-old corrections officer, was attempting to slow traffic near his home to help the animals when he was shot on Sept. 7, according to the Snohomish County Sheriff's Office.

He was off-duty when he was shot and had been with the Washington State Department of Corrections for almost a year and a half, spokesman Chris Wright told NBC News.

His wife, Allissa Beckman-Spaeth, told authorities that she and her husband were in their driveway slowing northbound and southbound traffic. She had her back turned to Spaeth when she heard a "pop," court documents state.

When she turned around, she saw her husband in the roadway with a gunshot wound. Spaeth had been shot in his chest.

Deputies responded to the home located about 40 minutes north of Seattle around 7:45 p.m. and found the man dead.

Dan White, the superintendent of the Monroe Correctional Complex where Spaeth worked, said he “was well respected by his peers and supervisors.” 

"He was dependable, consistent, and was someone his partners could count on to be there for them," White said. "He was kind and empathetic toward the incarcerated population who have expressed admiration, appreciation, and great respect for the man he was."

The sheriff's office inspected surveillance video from nearby businesses and determined that the driver of a light-colored Lexus sedan was involved in the shooting.

The next day, the sedan was spotted by an off-duty deputy. The driver of the car, 22-year-old Dylan Picard, was pulled over.

When a sergeant asked Picard if he knew why he was pulled over, he responded "I shot somebody," according to the affidavit. Picard also told law enforcement that the firearm in his car was the one he used in the shooting.

Picard told investigators that as he was driving, the car in front of him slowed. He said a man and a woman were in the roadway and he saw the man yelling at the car in front of him and hit it with his hands, according to the affidavit.

Picard reached for his gun because he was scared, and as the man approached his opened passenger-side window, he said he fired one shot to scare the man and woman. He said he did not know if the shot hit anyone, the documents state.

Neither the man nor the woman had touched his car, he told investigators. He did not stop after the shooting or try to call 911.

Picard was arrested and charged with second-degree murder on Sept. 8. A judge set his bail at $500,000, and he's being held at the Snohomish County Jail, according to online records.

An attorney for Picard did not respond to requests for comment.

The investigation continues, and the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office is encouraging anyone who witnessed the shooting to come forward.