MOUNT VERNON — Moments after learning in December that an officer with the Mount Vernon Police Department had been shot, Mayor Jill Boudreau received a text message from the man accused of shooting the officer.
“Come 2 my house,” it said, before listing the shooting suspect’s address.
The text conversation between Boudreau and 44-year-old Ernesto Rivas, made available Wednesday through a public records request, shows nine messages between the two in the span of about 20 minutes.
“Tell me what is happening,” Boudreau responds to Rivas, according to the records.
“I’m going 2 die,” Rivas responded less than a minute later at 7:46 p.m.
Boudreau was one of dozens of people in contact with Rivas during the Dec. 15 standoff with police.
Text messages between the two on Boudreau’s personal cellphone date back to September, Boudreau told the Skagit Valley Herald.
However, she doesn’t consider them to be out of place.
“I don’t consider it unusual he had my phone number,” Boudreau said. “I meet with anyone who wants to meet. For me as a mayor I’ve always wanted to be as open as I can and to be able to have people talk to me about what’s going on in the community.”
Boudreau met Rivas at a celebration for his community-activist aunt, she said.
Rivas, who has admitted his gang involvement to police, approached Boudreau and asked her what she was doing about gang violence in the city, she said.
“I said ‘What are you doing about gang issues in the city?’” she said of her response.
Rivas, Boudreau said, expressed wanting to find ways to help kids in the community.
The two met in person three times over the course of the year, Boudreau said. After each meeting, Rivas gave Boudreau information about local gang activity or crimes, she said.
Each time, she said, she reported the information to either the Mount Vernon or Burlington police departments.
“My intent in meeting with him was that if he was going to offer up any information that he could give that could add to the safety of our city, then I was going to do it,” she said. “Before I even met with him, I met with our police department so I could be as prepared as possible for our interactions.”
When she heard from Rivas on the night of the shooting, she said, it had been more than a month since the two had talked.
“Are u involved?” she asked Rivas at 7:50 p.m.
“Yes,” he replied, according to the documents.
Then, Boudreau said, Rivas called her.
“The conversation was about 30 seconds long,” she said. “It was very hectic and yelling.”
By that point, law enforcement officers from throughout the region had rushed to Mount Vernon, and were surrounding Rivas’ home in the 800 block of North LaVenture Road.
Boudreau, meanwhile, called the 911 dispatch center, she said, reporting that she had been in contact with Rivas.
While on her way to the scene, she said she continued to text Rivas in an attempt to engage him, something she had learned from her time working at the Mount Vernon Police Department.
“Ernesto, please call me back,” said one message. Then “Ernesto, talk to me — I deserve that respect,” according to the documents.
Rivas had stopped responding by the time Boudreau arrived at the scene, where, she said, she followed instructions from police. She gave them screen shots of her text conversations with Rivas and made an official witness statement to police.
While she has struggled with the outcome of that night’s events, she believes her actions were reasonable, especially after having received the news about the injured officer.
“I tried to react (to Rivas) as professionally as I could,” Boudreau said.
She said she has not tried to conceal her involvement, and hopes it will not affect the outcome of a potential trial.
Rivas is charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and is being held in Island County Jail on $1 million bond. His trial is set for May 8.