UPDATE: Mount Vernon Police Officer Shot In Head

mount vernon police officer shot

UPDATE: Mount Vernon Police Officer Shot

Mount Vernon, WA.–Details are still coming out as to what took place last night that left a Mount Vernon Police Officer shot in the head.  Mount Vernon Police were responding to a call when they were fired upon.  The situation turned in to an hours long standoff that included multiple agencies and tactical units being deployed.

Last night came less than one month after the shooting death of Tacoma officer Reginald “Jake” Gutierrez who was killed in the line of duty responding to a domestic.  60 miles north of Seattle, Mount Vernon Police were responding to a call Thursday night, of a possible person shot and laying in the street, around 5:30p.m. local time.  Upon arrival officers were fired upon and a 30-year veteran was shot in the head.  The situation turned in to what was first described as a hostage situation but was later learned to be a barricaded suspect with two persons of interest in the home.  The standoff lasted nearly 7 hours and ended with all three people in the home being taken in to custody.

SWAT Units, Air Support and multiple agencies all flooded to the scene to assist the Mount Vernon Police Department during the incident.  Multiple residents were evacuated from their homes and entire streets were closed to traffic.  During the incident, local Salem Lutheran Church became an evacuation center and opened their doors to residents and officers to seek shelter.  A MVPD community resource officer remained at the church along with church members to welcome those coming in.  We salute you Salem Lutheran Church in being a place of refuge during such a difficult situation.

The shooting suspect is a 44-year old male, a felon that carries a lengthy criminal history.  He is well known to law enforcement in the area and officers report visiting the residence on multiple occasions.  Ernesto Lee Rivas pleaded guilty in 1998 in a deal with Yakima County prosecutors that got him out of a life sentence. Once he realized he was clear, he grinned and looked at a police detective and said , “Oh, by the way, does that mean I got four balls and a walk?”

“The suspect who allegedly shot at officers barricaded himself in a residence…and continued to fires shots at officers on scene throughout the evening.  Officers from multiple agencies responded to the scene and closed roads in the immediate area.  Hostage negotiators spent several hours communicating with the suspect.”  The suspect eventually came out of the residence after talking with negotiators. Rivas was booked in to the Skagit County Jail overnight on charges of Murder in the 1st Degree.  It is unclear if he is indeed the suspect as most local news sources are reporting.  The original person shot on the street corner was later learned to have only suffered a graze wound.

Rivas was updating his Facebook page with posts as the shooting was occurring. He advised his friends and family that he loved them but stated that he was going to die and “Fuck the police”.

The 61-year old Mount Vernon officer is a 30-year veteran and described as a stand-up guy.  The veteran officer is well known in the community and highly respected in the department.  He is married with adult children and grandchildren, serves as a local Boy Scout leader and is involved in training new officers.  After being shot, the officer was taken to Skagin Valley Hospital, where he was air lifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, and underwent surgery.  “He’s hanging in there,” Washington State Patrol Sgt. Keith Leary reported.  As of this morning, we are happy to report that the officer was alert and spoke to the medics during transport and this morning was downgraded from ‘critical condition’ to ‘serious but stable.’  Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of this Hero both blood and blue.  Get well soon.