The Washington Post

Mount Rainier police officer pleads guilty to attempted murder, sex charges in July shooting

A Mount Rainier police officer pleaded guilty Monday to attempted murder, sex and gun charges in connection with a July incident in which he shot and wounded a man who tried to flee after a sexual encounter at the officer’s home, authorities said.

Gene Gillette, 27, pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree murder, attempted fourth-degree sex offense and use of a handgun in the incident, which occurred July 2 at Gillette’s home in the 700 block of Glacier Avenue in Capitol Heights, authorities said. He is scheduled to be sentenced on January 19, authorities said.

Prosecutors have said previously that Gillette lured the 20-year-old victim to his home by saying he needed a male actor for a pornographic move he was making. Once there, prosecutors have said, Gillette made sexual advances on the man, a stranger who had just met Gillette at a gas station.

When the man tried to flee in Gillette’s truck, Gillette opened fire on him, prosecutors have said. The man was struck several times, including in the throat, but survived the attack, prosecutors have said.

Gillette was suspended with pay after the incident, which he initially characterized as one in which he shot and critically wounded a suspect who tried to carjack him. He was suspended without pay after his indictment in July, and he remains suspended without pay now while department officials move to fire him, Mount Rainier Police Chief Michael Scott said.

“At this point, we can move to terminate his employment,” Scott said Monday. “I’m glad the whole thing is over at this point, regardless of how it came out. It’s unfortunate, but that’s what we have a justice system for.”

William Brennan, Gillette’s defense attorney, declined to comment Monday, saying it would be improper to do so before the January sentencing. He has said previously that Gillette was named Rookie of the Year after he joined Mount Rainier’s police force in 2007, and he has been named Officer of the Year twice since then.

Matt Zapotosky covers the federal district courthouse in Alexandria, where he tries to break news from a windowless office in which he is not allowed to bring his cell phone.

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