Henry Eugene Washington, the man accused of causing the death of Bothell police Officer Jonathan Shoop during a gunfight in July, pleaded not guilty Monday to aggravated first-degree murder, attempted first-degree murder and vehicular assault.
Washington, 37, was charged in King County Superior Court on July 17, four days after a traffic stop in Bothell turned into a shootout that killed Shoop, 32, and wounded police Officer Mustafa Kumcur. Washington is being held without bail.
Washington is accused of firing shots into Shoop and Kumcur’s patrol SUV following a brief car chase on the night of July 13. One of the bullets hit Kumcur’s firearm and ricocheted, striking him in the head and causing a deep graze wound, according to the Snohomish County Multiple Agency Response Team (SMART) and court documents. As both Shoop and Kumcur returned fire, Shoop was caught in the crossfire and struck by one of Kumcur’s bullets.
After Washington fled the shooting scene, Kumcur got out of the SUV, dragged Shoop from the driver’s seat and began CPR before medics arrived, the charges say. Kumcur was Shoop’s field-training officer.
Prosecutors say that although Washington didn’t fire the fatal shot, he was intent on killing the officers and is responsible for Shoop’s death.
King County Superior Court Chief Criminal Judge Patrick Oishi noted at Monday’s arraignment that aggravated first-degree murder is the most serious offense in Washington state. The only possible sentence for aggravated first-degree murder is life in prison without the possibility of release.
“Mr. Washington’s actions in the present offense show by clear and convincing evidence that he has a propensity for violence that creates a substantial likelihood of danger to the community,” Senior Deputy Prosecutor Mary Barbosa wrote in an earlier request that Washington be held without bail.
The hearing included motions filed by Washington’s defense attorneys amid a delay as he was brought from his jail cell. He had initially refused to come out of the cell for the hearing, and Oishi authorized “reasonable force” be used to bring him to the courtroom.
Washington’s attorneys argued that media shouldn’t be allowed to photograph or videotape his face, that he should be allowed to wear civilian clothes during court proceedings and he shouldn’t be restrained in shackles or handcuffs during proceedings. Appearing in jail clothing and restraints impacts his presumption of innocence, attorney Edwin Aralica argued, as do photographs circulated by media.
His attorneys wrote in a motion that the case comes “during a unique time of civil unrest” as demonstrations continue across the U.S. in the wake of the killing of George Floyd by a Minneapolis police officer.
“While many of the facts are still unknown, this case appears to involve a white officer and a black defendant,” Aralica and attorney Sarra Marie wrote. “We cannot know if racial issues were at play at this point of the case, however it is a clear question to be considered and one which will certainly face media scrutiny.”
Oishi denied the motions, citing concerns about safety and the severity of the charges against Washington. He also said a ban on media photography or filming was too restrictive.
More than a dozen uniformed members of the Bothell Police Department attended Washington’s arraignment. Shoop had been a police officer for slightly more than a year; he was one of 12 hired in 2019. A memorial fund for Shoop, who is survived by his longtime partner, his mother and two brothers, has raised $37,500.
In addition to the charges related to the two police officers, Washington is also accused of driving into a 20-year-old who had been riding scooters with a friend in a crosswalk. The 20-year-old suffered multiple fractures to his leg when Washington hit him during the July 13 police chase, authorities said.