Nathan Trujillo started taking methamphetamine when he was just 13 years old and spent much of the next eight years high.
That addiction nearly led to his death July 11 when he got high and then accosted a woman in downtown Oak Harbor with what looked like a handgun.
An officer shot him to save the woman, hitting Trujillo in the arm.
Trujillo’s attorney, Steve McKay, said during a hearing in Island County Superior Court Friday morning that he normally doesn’t like to use the cliché about a “wake-up call” when talking about clients, but in this case the phrase applies.
Trujillo woke up in the hospital unsure about what had happened, but ready for change.
“Not many people are brought to their senses by being shot with a high-powered rifle,” he said.
As part of a plea bargain, Trujillo pleaded guilty to kidnapping in the first degree. The prosecution and the defense submitted a joint sentencing recommendation of five and a half years in prison, which is in the middle of the standard sentencing range. Judge Alan Hancock agreed and imposed the sentence.
McKay said Trujillo was aghast at what he had done and wanted to plead guilty immediately, but he advised him to wait until the investigation into the shooting by the Skagit County Multi-Agency Response Team, or SMART, was complete. The county prosecutor is currently reviewing the non-criminal investigation, but there are no allegations that the shooting was not justified.
McKay, Hancock and Chief Criminal Prosecutor Eric Ohme all said Trujillo is lucky to be alive.
Ohme agreed that Trujillo had taken responsibility for the crime early on and that meth use “obviously had a lot to do with what happened.” As part of the agreement, Trujillo will receive a drug assessment in prison and is supposed to follow any recommended treatment, both in prison and afterward.
Ohme said his office staff tried various ways of contacting the victim, a homeless woman, to notify her of the hearing but was unable to reach her.
Hancock told Trujillo he hopes the sentence and drug treatment will represent a turning point in his life.
In the morning of July 11, witnesses called 911 and reported that a man had grabbed a woman in downtown Oak Harbor and pulled her into a small park. It was later revealed that Trujillo didn’t know the woman.
Witnesses said Trujillo held an object, possibly a gun, to the woman’s neck and screamed “some type of religious diatribe,” court documents state. Police officers arrived and saw that Trujillo was pointing a gun at the woman.
After he refused to drop the weapon, one of the officers shot Trujillo, hitting him in the arm and causing him to drop the gun. The woman was not physically injured.
Trujillo “didn’t even flinch” when he was shot, the documents indicate. He was combative with police as they arrested him — yelling incoherently about the devil — and was tasered.
Trujillo’s weapon turned out to be a BB gun.