MOUNT VERNON — Ernesto Rivas, the man accused of shooting Mount Vernon police officer Michael "Mick" McClaughry in the head in December 2016, was found guilty Thursday.

After about a month of testimony and a day and a half of deliberations, the jury in Rivas' trial found the 47-year-old Mount Vernon man guilty of all six charges against him, including two for first-degree attempted murder — one for the shooting of McClaughry and one for the shooting that led McClaughry and other investigators to Rivas' home. 

He was also found guilty of four counts of first-degree assault: one each for shooting at McClaughry and Mount Vernon police officers Liz Paul and Ben Green, and one for the shooting of the first victim.

All six counts included deadly weapon enhancements.

"We are very, very happy with this," Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich said after the verdicts were read.

In a packed courtroom, with McClaughry and his family sitting in the front row, each verdict was read off with  Rivas showing little reaction.

Afterward, McClaughry said he could sum up the day's events with one word: "relief."

"I don't have to think about it anymore," he said. "I can now just begin to move on. It's been an impact on everyone and the community. Now they can think of it as being concluded and we can all do better."

McClaughry, who was left blind by the shooting, said his vision has been slowly returning. By next year, he said, he hopes to be able to see his daughter as she gets married.

McClaughry said that while he and Rivas' lives will be forever intertwined, he would prefer not to think anymore about him.

Before the incident, McClaughry, a 30-year veteran of the Mount Vernon Police Department, had known Rivas well — well enough to feel safe approaching his door.

When he asked if he forgave the man who shot him, McClaughry replied simply: "That's not up to me."

A sentencing date will be set within a week, Weyrich said. However, prosecutors believe this is Rivas' third strike, which means he could be sentenced to life in prison without parole.

He is also still facing five charges related to unlawful possession of firearms.

Skagit County Superior Court Judge Brian Stiles decided in May that those charges should be heard separately from the attempted murder and assault charges.

Prosecutors will decide whether to continue with those charges, Weyrich said.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141, kwanielista@skagitpublishing.com, Twitter: @Kera_SVH, facebook.com/KeraReports

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