MOUNT VERNON — The man accused of shooting a Mount Vernon police officer and engaging police in an hours-long standoff Thursday night made his first court appearance Friday morning.

On the advice of his attorney, Ernesto Lee Rivas would not answer any questions, including acknowledging his name. But Skagit County Prosecuting Attorney Rich Weyrich identified him as the 44-year-old Rivas.

Skagit County Superior Court Judge Michael Rickert found there was probable cause to hold Rivas on a charge of first-degree attempted murder, giving prosecutors 72 hours to officially charge him. 

"It's a very serious charge," Weyrich said.

At Weyrich's request, Rivas is being held on $1 million bail.

"Mr. Rivas is not only looking at a very serious charge, but we believe this might be a third strike," Weyrich said.

State Patrol Sgt. Keith Leary said Thursday night that Rivas is "well-known" by Mount Vernon police and has a violent history.

Prosecutors have until 4:30 p.m. Tuesday to officially charge Rivas. If charged, he will make his next court appearance Dec. 29, Weyrich said. 

Rivas was taken into custody just after 1 a.m. Friday when police used tear gas to end a standoff at a home near the intersection of Fir Street and LaVenture Road.

Shots were reported being fired at police as late as 1 a.m., Leary said.

What appeared to be a potential hostage situation early in the stand-off evolved into a different situation, Leary said Friday afternoon.

Two boys, ages 15 and 16, who at first were thought to be Rivas' hostages, may not actually have been being held against their will, Leary said.

Because of the nature of the potential charges, the older boy is being processed through the adult court system, Skagit County Deputy Prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula said.

He is being held on $500,000 bail on an investigative hold for charges of attempted first-degree murder.

The 15-year-old boy appeared in Skagit County Juvenile court, and is also being held on $500,000 bail, Kaholokula said.

No shots were fired by officers when Rivas and the two boys came out of the house.

The Thursday incident began after Mount Vernon police were called to the area about 5:30 p.m. to a report of a man being shot.

That man was taken to Skagit Valley Hospital in a private vehicle after being grazed by a bullet, Leary said Thursday night. His condition and involvement were unknown, he said.

Multiple agencies assisted in the response, and the case will be investigated by the Skagit Multi Agency Response Team, of which Leary is a spokesman.

— Reporter Kera Wanielista: 360-416-2141,, Twitter: @Kera_SVH,

Load comments