Guilty verdict in the murder Everett Police Officer Dan Rocha

EVERETT, Wash., April 3, 2023—A jury found Richard Rotter, the prime suspect behind the on-duty murder of Everett Police Officer Dan Rocha, to be guilty of aggregated first degree murder on Monday, April 3.

“Today’s verdict comes with mixed feelings,” Everett Police Chief Dan Templman released in a statement. “While on one hand, I am pleased to see that the defendant will be held accountable for his actions to the fullest extent of the law, it still doesn’t bring Dan back, nor does it change the fact that his family lost a loving son, husband, brother and father.”

Chief Templeman shared thanks the investigative team, lead detective Kendra Conley with the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office, as well as the prosecution team of Craig Matheson and Bob Langbehn

“I can never express my level of appreciation for them,” wrote Templeman. “Their tireless efforts and extreme competence secured a verdict in this case that brings justice to the family and our department members. They are among the finest public safety professionals I’ve had the honor to work with in my career.”

Rotter faces life in prison without the possibility of parole when he receives his sentence on April 17.

Officer Dan Rocha, 41, was shot and killed by Rotter on March 25, 2022, following gunfire in a Starbucks parking lot across the street from the Everett Community College campus.

According to an eyewitness, gunshots were heard at around 2:15pm. The witness then saw a uniformed officer on the ground in the parking lot of the Starbucks as Rotter sped away, running over the body of the fallen officer.

Richard Rotter

After a two-and-a-half-mile vehicle pursuit, Rotter, 51, was arrested and taken into custody at 35th and Rucker in Everett.

Rotter was on probation and had outstanding warrants at the time of his arrest as well as a long criminal history dating back to 2004. He also claimed to suffer from a brain injury, PTSD, depression, and a substance abuse order during his proceedings.

At the time of Rotter’s arrest, Everett District Court Judge Tam Bui set bail at $5 million. He faced charges of a life sentence for the charges of unlawful possession of a firearm, 1st degree murder and 2nd degree murder.

Officer Rocha’s death was one of four on-duty death of a Washington State Police Officer of 2022.

Thousands attended Rocha’s memorial, which was held at Everett’s Angel of the Winds Arena on April, 5, 2022, and a memorial, honoring his legacy, was placed at Everett’s North Precinct at 3002 Wetmore Avenue.

On April 11, 2022, The Snohomish County Council unanimously passed a resolution honoring Rocha’s life and service.

“Everett is grieving. This tragedy has shaken our community to its core, and I have been trying to find the words to articulate the pain that we’re all experiencing…and I’m failing,” Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin said during Officer Rocha’s memorial service.

Preceding Officer Rocha’s memorial service was a procession of officers who marched from the Everett Mall toward the downtown venue as public onlookers lining Everett Mall Way waved both U.S. and thin blue line flags.

The hurst carrying Officer Rocha’s body drove under a giant garrison flag suspended by two fire truck ladders at Rockefeller and Hewett avenues.

Thousands of attendees were touched as the sound from bagpipers reverberated through the arena while officers from as far as New York wore mourning badges on their arms.

Remembering Dan Rocha

Daniel (Dan) Rocha was born July 6, 1980, in Santa Barbara, California, and grew up in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Officer Rocha graduated from Durango High School in 1998 and attended college at University of Nevada, Las Vegas.  After college, Rocha worked at the MGM Grand Hotels, where he met his wife, and love of his life, Kelli. The two began dating in 2002 and were married in 2005, welcoming their first son, Thomas, into their lives five years later. Their second son, Harrison, joined their family in 2012. To those who knew Dan Rocha best, his family meant the world to him.

SOURCE: Everett Police Department

Rocha and Kelli moved to Everett in 2011 where he landed a job as Assistant Manager at the Casino Road Fred Meyer. Everett Chief Templeman said during his remarks at Rocha’s memorial that he was described as a “reasonable, and understanding” manager and “genuinely happy to be at work.”

In 2017, Rocha’s drive to protect and serve his community led him to change jobs to public service as a parking enforcement officer for the Everett Police Department. Shortly after his arrival, Everett PD officers noticed his “outstanding public relations skills” and quickly recruited him to apply for a position as a fully commissioned officer.

One year later, Rocha was hired as a police officer and was first assigned to patrol the same neighborhood that he had previously worked in while employed at Fred Meyer. While Officer Rocha was able to quickly reconnect with the neighborhood he had previously served, it was his goal to return to north Everett and patrol the streets that he once lived in after his family had arrived in 2011.

In 2020, Officer Rocha landed his dream assignment, according to the eulogy, as a dayshift patrol officer in north Everett. This is where Dan faithfully served his community until his passing on March 25, 2022.

Officer Rocha left behind his wife Kelli, sons Thomas and Harrison, fathers Charlie Rocha and Mike Lee, sisters Morgen Henry and Rae Ann Hismiogullari, sister-in-law Maggy Palos and brother-in-law Matt Nicholas.

“Though words cannot express our loss, we are truly thankful to you all for your kindness and support during this tragic time. Dan truly cared about his community and worked every day to make it a safe and caring place or all of its residents,” his family said.

In November of last year, the City of Stanwood designated two streets in Officer Rocha’s memory. His wife, Kelli, worked with the City’s Adopt-A-Street Litter Control Program to honor him and the ultimate sacrifice he made protecting and serving the citizens of Everett.

The two streets in Stanwood dedicated to the memory of Officer Rocha are:

  • At the corner of 270th St NW & 271st St NW, next to the Stanwood Café, and
  • On 102nd Ave NW facing north, just north of Stanwood Elementary School.

Officer Rocha will be honored on May 15, 2023 at the 42nd annual National Peace Officers Memorial Service in Wshngton, D.C., which is hosted by the Fraternal Order of Police.

Kienan Briscoe

Kienan Briscoe is a 9-time award winning journalist who has worked for a variety of publications including Pulitzer Prize-finalist Puget Sound Business Journal, Sound Publishing, Game Rant, and the University of Washington's newsroom. Before making the leap to news reporting he worked as a freelance writer in New York City. He holds a degree in Journalism from Arizona State University. Journalism, to him, is one of the most important tools for informing the public and holding governments accountable to the people. When he is not reporting he enjoys writing fiction and poetry (author of three novels), playing guitar, reading classic literature, and getting outdoors.

Kienan Briscoe has 428 posts and counting. See all posts by Kienan Briscoe

2 thoughts on “Guilty verdict in the murder Everett Police Officer Dan Rocha

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *