A Pasco police officer looked on in court Tuesday as a teen gang member who pointed a gun at her during a shooting investigation was sentenced to seven years and nine months in prison.
Alejandro "Alex" Leon had nothing to say to the judge about the June 8 crime.
But his lawyer, Michael Davidson, said the16-year-old has been attending school since he was locked up and "is interested in trying to turn his life around."
Leon will go to a Juvenile Rehabilitation Administration facility until he is 18, then to a state Department of Corrections prison.
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He pleaded guilty earlier this month in Franklin County Superior Court to first-degree assault with a firearm.
Known by the street moniker "The Kid," Leon was running from Officer Michelle Goenen when he dropped a .357 Magnum revolver. He picked it up and pointed it at the uniformed officer, but ran off without firing at Goenen.
Leon was wanted at the time for his alleged role in a June 6 gang shooting.
Goenen was on patrol at 10:03 a.m. June 8 when she spotted Leon with the revolver. The Tri-City Regional SWAT team was called out after Goenen's confrontation with the suspect, and three nearby schools were locked down for about four hours as officers searched for Leon.
He was caught trying to run from a home that SWAT had surrounded. The fully loaded revolver was found in a yard Leon had been seen running through.
Goenen testified at a previous hearing that she didn't shoot at Leon because there was a trailer behind him and she was worried someone might be hit if she missed.
She did not talk at Tuesday's hearing.
Leon was tried as an adult after a ruling last September by Judge Vic VanderSchoor. He had been charged with a second count of first-degree assault, but it was dropped as a result of plea negotiation.
That assault was for a fight June 6 between several teen gang members at South Douglas Street. Police at the time couldn't locate anyone who had been shot, but the following day they learned that Eliodoro B. Salcedo had been hit in the left thigh, court documents say.
Salcedo, 17, was arrested on an outstanding warrant. On his way to the juvenile detention center, he said he was at an east Pasco home when "Alex" showed up, mocked his gang and then fired a gun, documents said.
On Tuesday, Deputy Prosecutor Brian Hultgrenn recommended a prison term at the lower end of the sentencing range, noting Leon had no prior felony convictions.
Davidson asked VanderSchoor to go along with that recommendation. He asked Leon's tearful mother to stand, then pointed out that his client's father has been in Mexico since he was a baby and has not been involved in his life.
"That doesn't excuse his conduct but might explain a little about how he got here, without a positive role model," Davidson said. "Over the last couple of months since I've been involved in the case, it's been difficult because I have a teenage boy the same age."
Davidson also handed over several documents from Leon's teachers from the past several months.
After reviewing the letters, VanderSchoor told Leon, "I hope that's the start of a good change."
Once Leon is released from prison, he must do three years of community supervision and pay $402 in restitution.
Kristin M. Kraemer: 582-1531; email@example.com