Three charged with felony assault after Saturday protest, released on bail

12/15/2020 @ 1200

The three men arrested by a multi-jurisdictional civil event response team at a confrontation during opposing protests on Saturday have all been charged with varying levels of felony assault, and have since been released on bail.

The Shooting

Prosecutors charged Forest M. Machala, 25, of Bellingham, with Assault in the First Degree after he allegedly shot a 20-year old male in the abdomen near the intersection of 15th Ave and Columbia St SW, near the State Capitol Campus.

Troopers took Machala into custody after he entered his vehicle in the area. The shooting victim was taken by private vehicle to St. Peter’s Hospital, where he was taken into surgery. The bullet passed completely through the victim’s torso.

There was also a second reported shooting in the area, but detectives have located neither a suspect or a gunshot victim. When the suspect from the first shooting was taken into custody, a Glock 9mm pistol was found on his person. The magazine in the pistol contained seven bullets, when it was capable of carrying ten. An additional full magazine was found on his person also.

One spent shell casing was recovered by detectives, but it does not match the caliber found on Machala’s person. It is believed this shell casing was from the second shooting.

Machala has been released on bail. The exact amount of the bail is not known. He was released Monday evening after his preliminary court appearance.

Two Felony Assaults on Police Officers

The second and third suspects were taken into custody by Thurston County deputies after the two suspects assaulted the deputies. One of the suspects used a baton in the assault.

Charles S. Gaston, 38, has been charged with three counts of Assault 2nd Degree while Armed with a Deadly Weapon, felony Criminal Mischief while Armed with a Deadly Weapon, and Resisting Arrest. He was released on bail Tuesday.

Deputies with the SWAT Team were attempting to take 10 to 15 “rioters” into custody near the intersection of Union Ave and Capitol Way. The rioters were armed with homemade shields, gas masks, batons, sticks, and baseball bats, according to the Deputy’s report. OPD officers and TCSO deputies ordered the group to disperse or face arrest.

When a TCSO Sergeant attempted to arrest Gaston for failing to disperse when ordered, Gaston assaulted three deputies with a metal baton with metal daggers protruding from it. The TCSO Sergeant had a fresh contusion on his right shin from Gaston’s baton, the report reads.

Gaston was joined in his assault effort by 37-year-old Thomas E. Johnson. Johnson was also arrested and charged in the Superior Court with two counts of assault of a law enforcement officer, as well as criminal mischief and resisting arrest. Johnson assaulted two Deputies by pushing them and punching them repeatedly in the upper chest area.

Both Gaston and Johnson have since been released on bail, also.

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