WALLA WALLA, Washington – The Walla Walla man involved in a hostage situation in February that resulted in an officer-involved use of force and a state Department of Corrections employee from College Place charged with a drug smuggling attempt were both sentenced Monday in Walla Walla County Superior Court.
According to Walla Walla County Prosecutor Jim Nagle, John T. Rowe, 32, of Walla Walla, was sentenced to 364 days in jail on each count to run concurrent to each other, with credit for 59 days served, the remaining 305 days suspended on conditions of probation.
Rowe was involved in the Feb. 24 hostage situation on the 400 block of West Cherry Street which resulted in an officer-involved use of force. He pled guilty May 1 to amended charges involving that incident. According to court documents, he admitted to guilt on charges of third-degree malicious mischief (domestic violence) and fourth-degree assault (domestic violence).
The shooting took place after patrol officers responded to a call of an alleged physical dispute involving Rowe and a woman. Rowe allegedly wouldn’t let her leave the house and was armed with a knife.
As two of the officers were talking to Rowe, police said Rowe took some actions that required the officers to make an immediate response. While less-lethal munitions were used at first, they didn’t stop Rowe’s action, so one of the officers fired his handgun, striking Rowe in the arm.
Both officers were placed on paid administrative leave per departmental policy and have since returned to work.
Gustavo Ramirez Meza, 42, of College Place was arrested Nov. 26, 2018, and charged with possession of a controlled substance and introducing contraband to the Washington State Penitentiary where he was employed.
Nagle said he was sentenced to 12 months and 1 day in prison, plus 12 months of community custody (supervision) afterwards.
According to court documents, detectives and officers with the Walla Walla Police Department worked with investigators from the Washington State Penitentiary on Nov. 25. Through the investigation, it was learned there was to be a delivery of methamphetamine, Suboxone, money and a cell phone. The delivery was to occur at Meza’s home in College Place which resulted in investigators conducting surveillance and apply for a search warrant of a boat on Meza’s front yard where the items were delivered and placed, plus a vehicle which arrived at Meza’s home.
Detectives believed Meza had the intent of introducing the items located in the boat to the Washington State Penitentiary.