MOUNT VERNON — Mount Vernon Mayor Jill Boudreau testified Monday in the trial of Ernesto Rivas about several texts and a phone call between the two the night Rivas is accused of shooting a police officer.
“I said, ‘Did you shoot my police officer?’ ” Boudreau testified. “He said he didn’t know and then he said he was sorry several times.”
Boudreau said she first met Rivas in 2015 during her campaign for reelection. The two were introduced by Rivas’ aunt, who was helping with Boudreau’s campaign.
On Dec. 15, 2016, after officer Michael “Mick” McClaughry had been shot in the head, Rivas texted Boudreau’s personal cellphone.
Boudreau told the Skagit Valley Herald in April 2017 that she and Rivas had texted each other since September 2016 about issues related to gangs.
She said Monday she assumed Rivas had gotten her number from his aunt.
According to records obtained by the Skagit Valley Herald in April 2017, the first text Rivas sent the night of the shooting read: “Come 2 my house,” and listed Rivas’ address.
“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.
Later in the evening of the shooting, Boudreau delivered screen shots of the messages to negotiators who were on the phone with Rivas.
When asked by defense lawyer Tammy Candler if Boudreau had been upset to have been dragged into the situation by Rivas, Boudreau said yes.
When asked by Chief Deputy Criminal Prosecutor Rosemary Kaholokula if she had also been upset that McClaughry had been shot, Boudreau paused and appeared to have to regain composure before saying yes.
Before the night of the shooting, the relationship between Boudreau and Rivas centered on gangs.
When she first met Rivas, Boudreau said, he wanted to know what she was going to do to address gang issues, particularly in the schools.
The impression she got from Rivas, she testified, was that he felt that children in gangs were not treated equally in the schools — namely that the young members of his gang were treated more harshly than of the rival gang.
After she took office, she said she met with Rivas in person at a local deli to discuss the issues. During their first meeting, she said, he showed up wearing several articles of clothing reflecting his allegiance to his gang.
Boudreau, who spent eight years working with the Mount Vernon Police Department, including some time as the department’s crime prevention community service officer, said she recognized the clothing to be gang related and told him that, if he wanted to continue to meet with her, he could not wear such attire when around her.
Over the next year, she said, the two exchanged messages about gang activity in the area, including the May 2015 shooting in Burlington that left a 17-year-old boy dead.
Any information she received from Rivas she reported to the Mount Vernon Police Department.
The two also spoke during Boudreau’s campaign when Rivas, whose defense team earlier in the trial indicated he was an activist in the Latino community, asked Boudreau if she wanted him to introduce her to someone who may be able to set her up with radio spots on the local Latino radio station, which she accepted.
Never, she said, did she remember initiating contact with Rivas nor did she consider it unusual that he would have had her personal cellphone number, which she readily gives out, she said.