A 24-year-old Renton man pleaded not guilty Aug. 25 in King County Superior Court to charges of second-degree assault and first-degree malicious mischief in connection with an Aug. 8 incident when Kent Police shot him as he reportedly attempted to charge the on-foot officers with his vehicle.
Michael J. Cooper is scheduled to return to court Sept. 8 for a case-setting hearing where a trial date could be set. The hearing also could be rescheduled if the defense or King County prosecutors ask for more time before setting a trial date. Cooper remains in custody in the Norm Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent. Bail was set at $320,000.
Prosecutors allege that Cooper used his vehicle to assault an officer during an incident near South 252nd Street and Canyon Drive. Cooper also is accused of striking three police vehicles with his car, a GMC Yukon sport-utility vehicle.
Two Kent Police officers fired their guns during the incident. Cooper was treated for a shot to the left thigh at Harborview Medical Center in Seattle. He was discharged after a few hours and booked into the Renton jail by Renton Police, who took over the investigation because it involved a Kent officer firing a gun.
The trouble Aug. 8 began when Kent detectives, working with an informant, set up a methamphetamine deal with Cooper at about 2:15 p.m. at a parking lot in the 25400 block of 104th Avenue Southeast. The detectives planned to arrest Cooper for an Aug. 1 felony for eluding a police officer. Cooper also had a warrant out of Kent Municipal Court for driving with a suspended license.
Cooper’s SUV entered the lot at about 2:45 p.m. The SUV circled the parking lot for about 15 minutes before heading west on Southeast 256th Street, which turns into Canyon Drive.
The Yukon then turned right onto South 252nd Street before making a sudden U-turn back onto Canyon Drive. That’s when a Kent police vehicle blocked the vehicle’s path on Canyon Drive.
The officer got out of the patrol car, and with another officer whose car was parked nearby, approached the Yukon in an attempt to apprehend Cooper. The officers yelled for him to exit the vehicle.
That’s when the SUV accelerated toward the two officers and struck one of the patrol cars. The officers fired at the Yukon to stop the vehicle. One shot went through the driver’s door and struck Cooper in the thigh. The Yukon backed up, and traveled about 350 feet down Canyon Drive until it was forced to stop by other patrol vehicles.
Witnesses told police that the Yukon revved its engine before slamming into a patrol car and narrowly missing an officer standing nearby.
A woman passenger in the Yukon told police that she had just recently met Cooper. The woman said they were rammed by a police car and that Cooper floored his vehicle in an attempt to get away and rammed a police car.