LAKEVIEW — The man who was shot during a volley of gunfire with police in the Lakeview community last month entered not guilty pleas to four charges on Tuesday.
Alejandro Rodriguez, 26, pleaded not guilty in Grant County Superior Court to four counts of first-degree assault-law enforcement officer. Rodriguez was initially charged with two counts of first-degree assault in connection with the Aug. 19 incident, but the charges were amended by the prosecution last week. A tentative date has been set for Oct. 17 for the case to head to trial. Due to the severity of the alleged crimes and on the possibility of a life sentence if he is convicted, Rodriguez is currently being held without bail in the Grant County Jail. His attorney, Clarke Tibbits, chose not to address the issue of bail on Tuesday and the matter is expected to be argued at a future hearing.
Police were in the 100 block of Adrian Avenue Northwest, in the Lakeview community near Soap Lake, on the day of the shooting searching for an armed robbery suspect who was on the run. Sgt. Ryan Harvey and officer Bill Roberts, of the Ephrata Police Department, approached the residence from the front, while Grant County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Scott Granger and Soap Lake officer Nicholas Diaz advanced from the back.
The officers at the front of the residence were led to a shed at the rear of the property and were told a man was inside. Rodriguez, whom police were not looking for at the time, ultimately exited the shed, but he allegedly refused officer commands. He reportedly reached toward his waist and took covered behind a pile of garbage, after which the exchange of gunfire with police started.
Rodriguez was shot in the leg and treated at Samaritan Hospital and booked into the Grant County Jail later in the day. Central Basin Investigative Team (CBIT) detectives recovered a 9mm pistol with a round in the chamber on a tarp that was draped over the garbage pile where Rodriguez ducked for cover.
CBIT Commander Dave Sands previously said three of the five officers who were at the scene of the shooting discharged their weapons. Harvey and Roberts are 10-year veterans of the Ephrata PD and Granger has been a GCSO deputy for over 20 years. None of the officers had been involved in a shooting before the incident.
Richard Byrd can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.