Police officer in Washington state shot; Suspect in custody

Law enforcement vehicles gather near Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Wash., Thursday, Dec. 15, 2015. A Mount Vernon Police officer was shot and critically wounded by a suspect who was then barricaded in a Mount Vernon residence, authorities said. (Brandy Shreve/Skagit Valley Herald via AP)
Law enforcement vehicles gather near Skagit Valley College in Mount Vernon, Wash., Thursday, Dec. 15, 2015. A Mount Vernon Police officer was shot and critically wounded by a suspect who was then barricaded in a Mount Vernon residence, authorities said. (Brandy Shreve/Skagit Valley Herald via AP)

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — Authorities say a suspect is in custody following the shooting of a police officer in Washington state.

The Washington State Patrol says the 61-year-old Mount Vernon officer is serious but stable following surgery for a head wound.

The patrol said early Friday that a “primary suspect” has been taken into custody.

No other details on the developments were immediately available, but they follow a standoff in the town about 60 miles north of Seattle, where a suspect had been barricaded inside a house and firing at officers.

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

Leary says 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.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

Police are in a standoff with a suspect in a town north of Seattle, after a 61-year-old police officer was shot and critically wounded while responding to a call about a victim of gunfire.

The suspect remained barricaded in a home firing at officers late Thursday night.

The wounded Mount Vernon police officer with some 30 years of experience on the job was initially taken to Skagit Valley Hospital. The male officer was transferred to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle Thursday night with a gunshot wound to the head, according to hospital spokeswoman Susan Gregg.

She said the officer, who has not been named, was in surgery.

Washington State Patrol Sgt. Keith Leary told reporters the officer was responding to the call just after 5:30 p.m. when 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 officer was conscious and alert when taken to the local hospital, Leary said. Officers don’t why the suspect fired at the officer. It is believed there is at least one hostage inside the home with the suspect, who Leary said is well known to police.

“He is a violent offender,” Leary told reporters.

He said the gunman was talking with some people but it wasn’t clear if he was speaking with negotiators or others.

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.