Monroe man shot by deputy charged with assault

EVERETT — A Monroe man survived being shot by a Snohomish County sheriff’s sergeant last month, but now is facing legal troubles that could land him in prison.

Prosecutors charged Gerald Aney with second-degree assault in connection with his March 26 run-in with police. Aney, 49, made a brief appearance Monday in Snohomish County Superior Court. He pleaded not guilty to the felony charge.

He was being held on $150,000 bail.

Prosecutors allege Aney assaulted sheriff’s Sgt. Leslie VanderWel as she was investigating reports of a domestic disturbance at Aney’s mother’s home.

The woman called 911, reporting that her adult son had “gone crazy,” according to court documents.

Three deputies drove to the woman’s home. As they were walking to the door, the woman came outside. She was upset and told the deputies that Aney was no longer inside.

Aney reportedly appeared out from the darkened carport and pulled a large knife from the waistband of his pants. The blade measured about 8 ½ inches long. The deputies saw Aney hold the knife out and walk toward VanderWel, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson wrote.

The sergeant was “instantly alarmed and feared for her life,” Dickinson said.

She drew her service handgun and yelled at Aney to drop the knife. She took a few steps backward. Aney reportedly continued toward the sergeant with the knife in his hand. When he was within a few feet, VanderWel fired two shots.

Aney was struck in the stomach area. He slumped to the ground and dropped the knife.

He was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was released from the hospital about a week later and booked into the Snohomish County Jail.

His mother and others told detectives that Aney had been agitated and destructive for several days before his run-in with sheriff’s deputies, court papers said. Aney also had been drinking heavily.

The night of the shooting, he reportedly broke a lamp and threw a bowl of food against the living room wall.

Aney has prior felony convictions for child molestation and drug possession. If he is convicted of the assault, it would be his second strike under the state’s persistent offender law, court papers said.

VanderWel, a 25-year veteran with the department, was put on paid administrative leave while the Snohomish Multi-Agency Response team investigated the incident. She has since returned to work, sheriff’s chief Kevin Prentiss said Monday.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463; hefley@heraldnet.com.

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