Tips crucial to police in manhunt, SWAT standoff

EVERETT — Friday’s two dramatic arrests — one following a manhunt; the other, a SWAT standoff — followed critical tips from observant witnesses.

Moments before the 5 p.m. news on Friday, the Snohomish County Sheriff’s Office released a booking photo of Vincent Nutter, 22, to media outlets. A witness saw the fugitive’s photo on the news before spotting him and calling 911, sheriff’s office spokeswoman Shari Ireton said.

That tip focused a search in a heavily wooded location to a much smaller area.

Nutter eventually was found about 40 feet up a tree, Ireton said.

He initially refused to come down, “yelling for officers on the ground to shoot him, that he didn’t want to go back to prison,” according to court records.

A few blasts from a fire hose convinced him otherwise.

“His tone prior to the water was very combative,” Ireton said. “Thirty seconds after the hose, it totally changed.”

Nutter climbed down.

Members of the Snohomish County Violent Offenders Task Force had been searching for Nutter on felony and misdemeanor warrants.

They continue to look for his convict father, Mark Nutter, 47, after a search of his home found firearms and drugs.

On Friday afternoon, Vincent Nutter and a woman were spotted in the 7000 block of E. Interurban Boulevard getting into a car that had been reported stolen.

Nutter drove off, allegedly speeding on the wrong side of the road. The car slid across 180th Street SE in the Clearview area before stopping in deep gravel.

Nutter then made a run for it.

Seven law enforcement agencies, including the U.S. Marshals Service, cast a wide net to try to contain him.

He was arrested for investigation of attempting to elude police and possession of stolen property. His bail was maintained at $500,000 in Everett District Court on Monday.

Minutes after Nutter’s appearance in district court, he was in front of Superior Court Judge Thomas Wynne answering to felony charges from last year. Prosecutors charged Nutter with unlawful gun and drug possession. Those charges stemmed from a traffic stop in July, just a month after he was released from prison. Police found a handgun, body armor and a stolen laptop in the car Nutter was driving. They also found 22 grams of meth in a safe in the backseat of the vehicle.

Nutter initially was held on $100,000 bail in connection with the traffic stop. Bail was reduced to $15,000 in November and he was able to bond out. A judge issued a $20,000 arrest warrant in April when Nutter failed to show up for a court hearing.

Prosecutors tacked on a bail jumping charge Monday. Nutter pleaded not guilty to the three felonies.

Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Dana Little asked the judge to hold Nutter on $500,000 bail on the 2012 case. The defendant has failed to show up for 19 court hearings since 2008, Little told Wynne on Monday. She also gave the judge a rundown of Friday’s events.

Wynne obliged the deputy prosecutor, finding that Nutter is a flight-risk and a potential danger to community safety.

Nutter yawned and smiled through the hearing.

Friday’s other high-profile arrest followed a SWAT incident at a home in the 3800 block of Wetmore Avenue in Everett.

In that case, it was someone on the third-floor balcony who saw a man go into a back yard from the vantage point of his apartment building. A short time later, he heard breaking glass and he called 911.

“We were very happy that an alert neighbor called 911,” Everett police officer Aaron Snell said.

The witness provided a detailed description that helped officers identify the man when they approached the home.

When asked to identify himself to police, the suspect allegedly ran back into the house.

Officers searched the home and found Jason M. Riley, 40, hiding in a second floor attic. He allegedly told police he had a grenade and wasn’t afraid to use it, court papers said.

What followed were several hours of a police SWAT team trying to get the man to surrender peacefully.

The Lake Stevens man was arrested for investigation of burglary around 10 p.m. Friday when police entered the home and found him in a new hiding place in the crawls pace beneath the house, Snell said.

His bail was set at $100,000.

Eric Stevick: 425-339-3446; stevick@heraldnet.com.

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