Man guilty in shooting that blinded Mount Vernon police officer

A jury found Ernesto Rivas guilty of shooting and blinding a Mount Vernon police officer.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — A man was found guilty in the shooting of a Mount Vernon police officer that left him blind in 2016.

Ernesto Rivas, 47, was found guilty of attempted first-degree murder and assault with a deadly weapon Thursday afternoon after a three-week trial in Skagit County Superior Court.

Officer Michael "Mick" McClaughry was shot in the head in December 2016 as he knocked on Rivas' door to get information about a gang shooting that happened earlier in the day.

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According to court papers, Rivas fired from inside the house, where he was holed up with two teenagers. Police said it was those two teenagers who initially brought police to the scene.

Prosecutors said Facebook messages and phone calls with police negotiators showed Rivas all but confessing to the shooting. Defense attorneys said that was merely bravado.

Defense attorneys also argued another gang member who was in the house at that time pulled the trigger.

After the verdict, McClaughry spoke publicly.

"You can't sit here in the space of any sort of news conference or any sort of after affair to display just how huge it's been. I'm just very, very glad," McClaughry said.

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