‘He’ll die.’ Mom cries out as son with brain injury in wheelchair is taken to Pasco jail

When a Tri-Cities judge ruled police shooting suspect needed to return to jail, his mother cried out in court.

“He can’t go. He’ll die. My son is not OK,” she pleaded this week with Judge Sam Swanberg. “They took half of his brain from him. You cannot take my son in there.”

But Swanberg explained that according to court orders her son’s bail was set at $1 million and there isn’t any reason he shouldn’t be behind bars if he doesn’t post a bond.

So, despite his mom’s cries, David Ramos Galvez was led away and booked into the Franklin County jail.

His attorney vowed to fight the decision, calling it unconstitutional.

Galvez, 38, is charged with two counts of attempted first-degree murder shooting a Pasco police officer and then trying to run over a Benton County deputy last March.

Galvez was shot and wounded, leaving him with a traumatic brain injury, unable to walk without help and wearing a helmet.

His attorney Dennis Hanson believes it’s a violation of Galvez’s rights to be held in jail when he’s not competent to stand trial.

David Ramos Galvez
David Ramos Galvez

He’s been out of the jail receiving medical care since the criminal charges were filed last year.

Most of that time Franklin County prosecutors have been waiting for an in-patient evaluation of his mental health by Washington state doctors to determine if he’s competent.

Hanson told Swanberg this week that Galvez suffered from a brain injury and is not competent.

Hanson produced a state evaluation in connection with a Benton County District Court case that found Galvez’s ability to encode, process and retrieve new information “severely affected” by his injuries.

As part of the opinion, state psychologist Lisa VanDerley said it’s unlikely he could be treated “in the allowed time frame for misdemeanor defendants.”

But Prosecutor Shawn Sant told the Tri-City Herald that the psychologists didn’t take into account his felony charges. That could change whether the mental health professionals recommend committing him to a state hospital for treatment for a longer period of time.

It’s also unclear if Galvez’s competency could be restored if he stayed at the psychiatric hospital for a more intensive stay.

Chase and shooting

Galvez had a lengthy criminal history with multiple charges for assaulting or obstructing law enforcement officers in Franklin County before the confrontation with police on March 24, 2023.

Pasco Officer Phil Hanks was called to the Circle K convenience store on West Court Street shortly after 5:45 a.m. to check on a reckless driver in a white BMW.

He stopped in front of the car to block it from leaving the parking lot and headed toward the car.

Galvez allegedly fired through the closed driver’s side door, hitting the officer in the arm.

Hanks dropped to the ground and backed away to safety behind his patrol car to call for help, according to court documents.

Officers from across the Tri-Cities responded and began looking for the car and driver. A Franklin County sergeant spotted the car, and with the help of another deputy, tried to stop it.

Galvez allegedly refused to stop, and led the deputies on a five-minute chase reaching speeds of 70 mph, according to documents.

As they headed north on Road 64, Deputy Kenton Childers and another Benton County deputy prepared to deploy a spike strip to damage the car’s tires. Childers was in his car as Galvez drove into the intersection and aimed his car directly at the patrol vehicle, said investigators.

Galvez then allegedly pointed a gun at Childers, who shot and wounded him.

Charged while hospitalized

Prosecutors filed charges against Galvez on April 3, 2023, while he was still in the hospital.

While Judge Jackie Shea Brown set his bail at $1 million but allowed him to continue his treatment at Kadlec Regional Medical Center or St. Luke’s Rehabilitation Institute in Spokane until June 6.

At the same time, she ordered Eastern State Hospital to examine him.

Eastern State officials said it would take four months for the evaluation. But as of this month, the evaluation still hasn’t happened.

According to court documents, he was released to his mother in May 2023. He was fitted for an electronic home monitoring device.

Since his release, a state psychologist conducted a competency evaluation in connection with a May 2022 Benton County charge of DUI, operating a vehicle without an ignition interlock and driving without a license.

VanDerley interviewed Galvez by video on Feb. 20, and learned that Galvez’s mother and sister were his primary caretakers.

“This includes preparing his meals, taking him to his various appointments, reminding him to take his medications and assisting with hygiene and grooming,” VanDerley wrote.

His mother explained that Galvez was diagnosed with schizophrenia in his early 20s. Even before he was shot, he had been committed to mental health hospitals twice.

He also has a lengthy history of drug use including meth, alcohol and opiates.

Along with his regular doctor, he sees a psychiatrist in the community and attends rehabilitation services.

“Ms. (Rosa) Galvez reported that her son needs constant supervision and does not leave the home without someone with him,” VanDerley wrote.

When he was interviewed, he told VanDerley that his mom makes him wear the helmet because part of his brain is missing. He is able to move around with the help of a cane.

“Since the shooting incidence, there is evidence of significant cognitive decline,” VanDerley wrote, explaining, he has problems with executive functioning, learning, memory and perceptual-motor skills.

He “appeared to have difficulty processing information” in the interview, had delayed responses and a problem tracking interview questions.

Care in the jail

Galvez was taken to the Franklin County jail on Tuesday, March 26. Sant told the Herald corrections officials evaluated him to make sure that they could care for him.

Hanson said at the hearing he planned to bring the issue back before a judge next week.

Sant and Swanberg said that the furlough had run its course and it was time for Galvez to return to jail to face the charges and be evaluated to stand trial.