MOUNT VERNON — Ernesto Rivas, who was convicted in August in the shooting of a Mount Vernon police officer, was sentenced Wednesday to life in prison without the possibility of parole.

Rivas was convicted on six charges — including two for first-degree attempted murder — for his role in the December 2016 shooting that blinded Mount Vernon police officer Michael “Mick” McClaughry.

The other four convictions were for first-degree assault.

McClaughry and his family were in attendance at the sentencing, but he chose not to speak during the hearing.

The convictions on the six charges constitute a “strike offense.”

Prosecutors have long said they believed this was Rivas’ third such offense, a determination Skagit County Superior Court Judge Brian Stiles affirmed Wednesday.

Rivas’ previous two strike offenses occurred in Skagit and Yakima counties in the early 1990s.

Under state law, the only sentence available to those with three such offenses is life in prison without parole.

“The law is clear,” Stiles said. “It compels me to sentence you to life in prison.”

After the hearing, McClaughry said he hoped the lesson people learned was that should they choose to commit such a crime it will always come back to haunt them.

“One way or the other, they’re gonna pay for it,” McClaughry said. “Whether it’s in the criminal justice system or some other way.”

Prosecutors are also asking for about $550,000 in restitution from Rivas to be paid to the state Department of Labor & Industries for costs incurred by the state on behalf of McClaughry and retired Mount Vernon police Sgt. Pete Lindberg.

That hearing will occur at a later date.

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

Load comments