WA police officer shot responding to call, suspected shooter in custody

Posted at 4:11 AM, Dec 16, 2016
and last updated 2016-12-16 08:20:08-05

Police arrested a suspected gunman early Friday following a standoff in a community north of Seattle, after a police officer was shot and seriously wounded, the Washington State Patrol said.

The 61-year-old Mount Vernon officer was listed in serious but stable condition following surgery for a head wound.

A "primary suspect" was taken into custody early Friday, following an hourslong standoff, along with two other suspects, the patrol said.

"The suspect who allegedly shot at officers barricaded himself in a residence ... and continued to fire shots at officers on scene throughout the evening," the patrol said in a statement. "Officers from multiple agencies responded to the scene and closed roads in the immediate area. Hostage negotiators spent several hours communicating with the suspect."

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Keith Leary told reporters earlier the officer had been wounded Thursday evening while responding to the call about a shooting victim and a suspect began shooting from a house, hitting the officer.

Leary said the victim from the initial call was grazed by a bullet and was taken to a local hospital for treatment. It wasn't immediately known if the two shootings were connected, Leary said.

The wounded male police officer with some 30 years on the job was initially taken to Skagit Valley Hospital, before being transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle with a gunshot wound to the head, according to hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg. Leary said the officer was conscious and alert when taken to the hospital.

Initial reports said at least one hostage had been held during the standoff, but the latest patrol release did not refer to a hostage.

It also did not provide any more information regarding the other two people taken into custody. It did say that that the primary suspect was known to law enforcement and had a lengthy criminal history.

"He is a violent offender," Leary had told reporters while the standoff was still going on.

He added that officials don't why the suspect fired at the officer.

The neighborhood in Mount Vernon, about 60 miles north of Seattle, was closed by police while officers and a SWAT team were attempting to negotiate.

Skagit Valley College said Thursday night that because of police activity the Mount Vernon campus was in lockdown and closed. The school tweeted "everyone get inside and stay inside."

The shooting comes less than a month after a Tacoma police officer was killed responding to a domestic violence call. Officer Reginald "Jake" Gutierrez, 45, was fatally shot Nov. 30. The suspected gunman was killed by a sheriff's marksman, ending an 11-hour standoff.