Police officer in Mount Vernon in critical condition after being shot in head; suspect in custody

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — A Mount Vernon police officer was shot in the head Thursday night and was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in critical condition, and a suspect was taken into custody after an hours-long standoff, authorities said.

Washington State Patrol Trooper Keith Leary said Mount Vernon officers responded at about 5:30 p.m. to reports of a man having been shot outside a residence on LaVenture Road.  That wounded man, who had been grazed by a bullet, had already driven to a hospital. But when officers arrived at the scene, a man inside the residence began shooting at officers, hitting one of them.

The wounded officer was conscious and alert when he was being transported to Skagit Valley Hospital, Leary said.

Harborview spokeswoman Susan Gregg said Thursday night that the officer had been shot in the head and he was in his early 60s. He was  undergoing surgery late Thursday night.

The gunman, who police say is well known to law enforcement and has a lengthy criminal record, barricaded himself inside the house around 5:30 p.m. and two other people were also inside, Leary said. While negotiators tried to talk to the gunman, the suspect fired multiple rounds at the officers, he said.

The suspect was arrested just after midnight Friday. Leary said the two others inside the home were taken to the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.

The officer was later airlifted to Seattle's Harborview Medical Center, where he is in critical condition, spokesman Susan Gregg said.

Mount Vernon police Lt. Chris Cammock said police had few details to immediately release about the shooting but that the area around LaVenture Road and Fir Street has been closed by police.

Skagit Valley College put the campus on lockdown during the ordeal issuing an alert that "everyone get inside and stay inside!"

By Friday morning, police were allowing neighbors who had been evacuated during the standoff back into their homes.