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Deputies Killed While Booking Drunken Driving Suspect

November 15, 1987

COUPEVILLE, Wash. (AP) _ Two sheriff’s deputies were shot to death Saturday at their headquarters while they were booking a drunken driving suspect, and a man was later arrested with the officers’ car, authorities said.

Officers using the information on the dead deputies’ report arrested Darrin Hutchinson, 26, at his home on Whidbey Island near Clinton, said Island County Sheriff A.J. Graves.

At a news conference Saturday afternoon, Graves, his voice breaking, identified the victims as John Saxerud, 31, and William Heffernan, 45, both of Oak Harbor.

The shooting occurred about 6:15 a.m. in the detention area of the sheriff’s office while Saxerud and Heffernan apparently were preparing a breath test for a driver being booked for investigation of drunken driving, Graves said.

The man was able to get hold of a small caliber handgun and shot the officers, then escaped by taking the keys to a patrol car and backing it through the garage door, said Sgt. Lori Price.

No one else was in that area of the building at the time of the shootings, so some details of the incident were unclear, including how the man obtained the gun, authorities said.

Hutchison was being held in the Island County Jail, but Graves declined to immediately specify what charges would be brought against him.

Saxerud had been with the Island County department only since September but had seven years’ experience in other police departments, while Heffernan was a nine-year veteran of the department, Ms. Price said.