Doctor: Officer shot in Washington state gradually improving

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SEATTLE (AP) — A Washington state police officer who was shot in the head while responding to a call last week is making incremental improvements, but it's too soon to say what his prognosis might be, a doctor said Friday.

City of Mount Vernon Officer Mike McClaughry, 60, has been in intensive care at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle since the Dec. 15 shooting.

Dr. Louis Kim, chief of neurological surgery, told reporters that McClaughry has displayed some reaction to localized stimulation, a sign of upper brain function, but he is not responding to instructions by squeezing or moving his fingers, for example.

On a "coma scale" that runs from 3, or nearly brain-dead, to 15, or fully functioning, McClaughry is somewhere in the middle, Kim said.

Daughter April McClaughry thanked the community for its support, saying at the news conference that the family might dedicate an entire room to the cards and letters received from well-wishers. She smiled as she read a letter from a child suggesting her father should get a Purple Heart.

"You sacrificed your head for others' safety," it said.

Mike McClaughry was responding to a shooting in Mount Vernon, 60 miles north of Seattle, when he was shot. After a lengthy standoff at a home, officers arrested Ernesto Lee Rivas, a 44-year-old repeat felon who has been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Two teenagers in the home also have been charged. Authorities said police faced repeated gunfire during the standoff.

Charging documents say Rivas is a gang member with an extensive criminal record that includes eight felony convictions.

His cousin, Selena Evans, told the Skagit Valley Herald this week that her family opposes Rivas' actions but would support him through his criminal charges. She said her family sends condolences to McClaughry's family.

April McClaughry described her father, a 31-year police veteran, as strong and stubborn. She said she realizes he's not out of the woods.

"Nobody wants to receive this kind of call," she said. "After so many years on the force, you don't really think about your dad being in danger."

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