YAKIMA — Two Grandview men, involved in an Oct. 23, 2017 attempt to kill a Washington State trooper during a routine traffic stop, pled guilty in Yakima Superior Court Tuesday, Sept. 24.
Manuel Aviles of Grandview, pled guilty to attempted murder in the second degree, possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, possession of a stolen firearm, and attempting to elude, according to a statement from the Yakima County Prosecuting Attorney Joseph Brusic.
Aviles’ co-defendant Felipe Cortez-Barajas, also of Grandview, pled guilty to attempted murder in the second degree, possession of marijuana with the intent to deliver, possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree, Brusic’s statement continued.
The men’s pleas arose from conduct that occurred October 23, 2017, when Trooper Nathaniel Dawson was in uniform in a fully marked Washington State Patrol vehicle when he attempted to stop a vehicle on State Route 241 for travelling 69 mph in a posted 55 mph zone.
The vehicle, which was driven by Aviles, did not stop for Dawson who had both his lights and sirens activated. A pursuit began. At times the vehicle reached speeds in excess of 100 mph, passing other vehicles on the road, and running multiple stop signs. The car pulled into a driveway. Prior to it coming to a stop, the rear seat passenger exited and fled the scene.
The front seat passenger, Felipe Cortez-Barajas, exited the vehicle with a rifle and began firing directly at Trooper Dawson’s patrol vehicle.
The vehicle stopped and Aviles exited the driver’s seat and began firing a rifle at Trooper Dawson, who quickly took cover behind his patrol vehicle, was able to return fire and struck Aviles in the arm.
In total, Aviles and Barajas-Cortez fired at the trooper at least 33 times — one round went through the computer screen in his vehicle console and two entered the driver’s seat.
In addition to the two rifles, a stolen shotgun and handgun were recovered from the scene. There were 20 pounds of marijuana in the trunk of the car.
Aviles and Barajas-Cortez fled the scene, and would evade capture until being arrested on Oct. 26, 2017, in Royal City.
Both men were sentenced to 240 months.