Washington Man Who Slowed Down Traffic For Passing Deer Fatally Shot By ‘Scared’ Driver

A Washington state man was fatally shot outside of his home by a “scared” driver after he slowed down traffic to help deer pass, according to a police report.

Dan Spaeth, 37, was standing outside his home in Snohomish County on Sept. 7 with his wife to alert passing drivers that deer were crossing the road, according to an affidavit of probable cause first obtained by The Seattle Times.

Just before 8 p.m., Spaeth’s wife called 911 to report her husband had been shot a single time by someone in a passing vehicle. His wife said the two were on their property when she heard a loud “pop” and turned to see her husband lying in the road with a gunshot wound to his chest, according to the affidavit. Spaeth died at the scene.

The next day, on Sept. 8, officers with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office arrested 22-year-old Dylan Picard in connection to the shooting, The Washington Post reported Friday. When a sergeant asked if Picard knew why he was being arrested, Picard allegedly told the officer, “I shot somebody.”

Picard later told investigators he saw Spaeth yell at a passing vehicle and hit the car with his hands. Picard became “scared” and grabbed his loaded gun, according to the affidavit.

Picard allegedly fired one shot out of his open passenger window to “scare the male and female” but did not know he had hit someone. He has been charged with second-degree murder.

It’s the latest senseless shooting in the U.S. by individuals reacting with gun violence to otherwise harmless situations. In April, two cheerleaders in Texas were shot after one of them accidentally entered the wrong car. In May, a 14-year-old girl in Louisiana was shot by a man after she was playing hide-and-seek on his property. In August, a 9-year-old girl riding her scooter in Chicago was shot by a man who later told police he was upset over noise.


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.