Leader of Minutemen group reports being shot

EVERETT — Police are investigating more violence connected to an Everett woman who has claimed she is being targeted because of her freelance operations to thwart drug smugglers and illegal immigrants.

Shawna Forde, 41, was hospitalized after she reported being shot in the arm while walking alone in an Everett alley Thursday night.

It is the third report of violence connected to Forde in Everett since Dec. 22. That’s when her estranged husband was shot at his home. Forde reported being beaten and raped by intruders in the same house a week later.

Forde was in satisfactory condition Friday morning at Providence Regional Medical Center Everett, hospital spokeswoman Cheri Russum said. Privacy laws prohibit her from offering other details.

Mike Carlucci, a Seattle private investigator Forde has identified as her spokesman, said Friday that Forde is directing all media questions to her attorney, whom he declined to identify.

Police were called just after 9:30 p.m. Thursday to an alley in the 1800 block of 24th Street to reports of someone screaming and the sound of a single gunshot, Everett police Sgt. Robert Goetz said.

A woman in the alley had what appeared to be a gunshot wound to the arm. She told police she was walking alone when shot, Goetz said.

In keeping with police department policies, Goetz would not directly confirm the woman was Forde. The woman who was shot was taken to the hospital with injuries he said were not considered life threatening.

She told police she was walking from the Veterans of Foreign Wars post to a friend’s house near 23rd Street and Colby Avenue, Goetz said.

The alley is less than two blocks from the home on Rockefeller where Forde’s husband was shot and she later reported being sexually assaulted.

On Thursday, the woman said she believed she was being followed by somebody, turned around and was shot, Goetz said.

“The details after that, we’re not real clear on,” he said.

The woman was not immediately able to provide detectives with a description of whoever shot her. Investigators plan to interview her again Tuesday, Goetz said.

Alicia Delaney lives in a house just off the alley. She was getting ready for bed when she heard a popping sound, a car door slam and then the loud rumble of an engine just outside her bedroom window Thursday night.

Delaney said her housemates recognized the noise as a gunshot. They ran outside and found a woman slumped over. They called 911.

The area soon was swarmed by police and emergency vehicles, Delaney said.

“When it happens right there it doesn’t feel so good,” she said.

Celia Cortes lives on Oakes Avenue, her home abutting the alley. She heard “a pop, a loud pop,” and not long after that police were at her door, asking if she had noticed anything suspicious. On Friday afternoon, blood still stained the ground off the alley where the shooting was reported.

Goetz said Everett police major crime detectives are investigating whether there is any connection between what happened Thursday and the Dec. 22 shooting and the reported Dec. 29 sexual assault.

Forde last week met with detectives to be interviewed on the sexual assault report. They asked her back to talk about her husband’s shooting. Forde indicated she would talk to them, but had to reschedule and the meeting is pending, Goetz said.

Forde and her husband moved into separate homes in July. In October, he filed for divorce.

Forde is national director of Minutemen American Defense, a group that lobbies against illegal immigration and sends volunteers to Arizona to monitor the nation’s border with Mexico.

In interviews and Web postings, she publicly linked the shooting of her husband, 51, and the attack she reported on herself a week later. She has suggested the violence was somehow connected to her activism fighting crime, drugs and illegal immigration, but offered scant details.

Forde’s rape report triggered a blogosphere backlash, with speculation that the attack could be a hoax.

Forde has dismissed questions as “politics,” and labeled as “ridiculous” any suggestion that she may have somehow simulated her injuries reported in the Dec. 29 attack.

Her hospital discharge papers connected to that incident were posted earlier this week on Forde’s Minuteman American Defense Web site. They show she was examined for a reported rape and was treated for a possible concussion, neck pain and bruises.

Detectives have limited leads to follow up in the case, Goetz said. On Friday they released a sketch of one of the intruders Forde said attacked her Dec. 29.

The initial suspect description she provided to officers that night was of a young, white male wearing a black mask, Goetz said.

In interviews, Forde has said she was knocked unconscious by her attackers in the kitchen and had only vague recollection of what happened. She said there may have been up to three attackers.

Goetz said that last month, after Forde called them to report she’d been attacked, police searched the area with a tracking dog without success.

Forde ally Jim Gilchrist, president of the California-based Minuteman Project, said Forde spent roughly three months on the Arizona border in 2008 working with others to watch the border with Mexico. He said she sent e-mails describing how she was “deeply entrenched” in monitoring the activities of drug cartels.

He is surprised by the recent violence surrounding her.

“I don’t think this is a hoax. I don’t know what to think,” he said. “I’m certainly in shock. We have to let law enforcement play it out and see what is going on.”

Police urged anybody who lives near the alley where Thursday’s shooting was reported, or who may have seen or heard anything, to call the police tip line at 425-257-8450.

Reporter Scott North: 425-339-3431 or north@heraldnet.com.

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