John Carl Hanson, 29, accepted a plea deal resulting in the dismissal of two felony first-degree assault charges. Instead, he pleaded guilty to one felony count of possession of psilocybin mushrooms and two counts of gross misdemeanor unlawful discharge of a firearm. Superior Court Judge James Dixon sentenced Hanson after accepting the plea during Tuesday’s court hearing, minus jail time served after Hanson’s August arrest.
Hanson fired one gunshot from the second story of a Rumac Street residence in the direction of two deputies who were standing behind trees in the front yard, court papers state. Two or three more shots “whizzed” by the deputies after that. The Thurston County SWAT team responded and was met with additional gunfire.
Lt. Greg Elwin, who was on the scene Aug. 23, said Wednesday that Hanson is lucky.
“It could have gone very badly,” Elwin said of the incident. “This very easily could have been a fatal incident, for him or for one of the deputies. He’s very lucky.”
Hanson can serve his jail sentence on work release, meaning he can work outside of custody as long as his employment is verified but must spend his non-work hours at the jail.
Deputy Prosecuting Attorney James Powers and Hanson’s attorney, Charles Williams, agreed on Hanson’s plea deal. Williams declined to comment on the deal Wednesday.
Deputies were dispatched to the Rumac Street home on a report of a man firing gunshots from a window, Elwin said. A man who was in the home immediately walked outside and surrendered.
Hanson refused to leave. The SWAT team was called to the home, and police evacuated neighboring homes during a nearly three-hour standoff. Hanson’s mother arrived and tried to get her son to leave the home peacefully. SWAT team members fired gas containing pepper spray into the home.
Eventually, Hanson left the home voluntarily, “screaming and wearing only socks,” court papers state. Investigators found evidence of psychedelic mushroom use inside the residence, along with a handgun, a rifle and ammunition for both.
At the time of the standoff, neighbors said they were frightened by the midday gunfire coming from the home. One said he recognized Hanson as the shooter, court papers state.
Hanson had no criminal record at the time of his arrest, and there was no indication that his behavior was anything but an aberration, Powers said in an interview at the courthouse Wednesday. Hanson works with disabled adults and is married with two children; he had a third on the way at the time of his arrest, court papers state.
After Hanson’s arrest, he said he did not mean to shoot at anyone, but was trying to get help because he thought he was going to be killed.
“Hanson said he got into some bad mushrooms and had never taken mushrooms before,” court papers state.