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Two charged after shots fired at wildlife officer

An 18-year-old Mattawa man has been charged with attempted first-degree murder, after shooting at a Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife police captain Saturday in Grant County.

Jose J. Garcia-Meraze is being held in Grant County Jail on $1 million bail, along with his 60-year-old father, Nicholas Garcia-Godinez, who drew a knife on another WDFW officer. Garcia-Godinez has been charged with second-degree assault and is being held on $100,000 bail.

The men, who made a preliminary appearance today in Grant County Superior Court, are to be formally arraigned next week. U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement also placed holds on both men.

The two were arrested Saturday evening, following a vehicle pursuit by WDFW and the Washington State Patrol on State Route 28 near Ephrata.

The incident began about 8:30 p.m. Saturday when an officer was checking anglers at Crab Creek, a popular fishing area near Beverly in Grant County. The officer contacted Garcia-Meraze, who had been fishing but did not have a license, according to police reports.

As the officer was escorting the suspect back to his vehicle to confirm whether he had purchased a license, Garcia-Meraze drew a gun and pointed it at the officer, according to police. His father also approached the officer, brandishing a knife, police reports said.

Garcia-Meraze escaped in a car. During the pursuit, he turned his vehicle around and drove toward Anderson’s marked police vehicle, firing shots and penetrating the driver’s side door with one round, according to police reports. An officer returned fire after the suspect attempted to shoot at him a second time, police said.

After a pursuit of several miles, the suspect was apprehended after his car stalled on State Route 28 near Ephrata.

The incident is being investigated by the Columbia Basin Investigative Team, a regional law-enforcement consortium. Investigations are routinely conducted following police use of force involving firearms.