Preston Carlson

Preston Carlson, 25, at left, makes his first appearance under suspicion of attempted first-degree murder Thursday at the Cowlitz County Jail.

A local transient man suspected of entering a sleeping man’s bedroom and shooting him early Tuesday morning in West Longview appeared in court Thursday after he was arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. Police believe he may also be related to a string of burglaries and other crimes in the area.

Preston Michael Carlson, 25, is suspected of entering the bedroom at Heron Pointe mobile home park at about 2:30 a.m. Tuesday and firing at the man without warning.

“The victim hears a noise,” Longview Police Detective Branden McNew said. “(And) there’s a man standing by his window in a mask. The man doesn’t say anything, shoots at him twice (and) strikes him once in the abdomen.”

The victim was taken to St. John Medical Center and is expected to recover, McNew said. He is the boyfriend of Carlson’s estranged wife, McNew added, but police do not believe that is connected to a motive.

Police are still developing a potential motive for the attack, McNew said, but he confirmed that the attack was targeted and not random.

“(We) don’t believe there’s any ongoing threat to that community,” McNew said.

McNew said a witness heard the shooting and saw Carlson run to a vehicle and then speed away.

McNew said police believe Carlson is also linked to a string of burglaries, home invasions and vehicle prowls concentrated mostly in West Longview since early March. One of those incidents may be where he obtained the gun, McNew said.

Judge Stephen Warning found cause Thursday morning to hold Carlson without bail until a hearing on March 21. He will also be arraigned on that date. Carlson is a local transient, according to police reports.

Police weren’t specifically looking for Carlson when they found him Tuesday morning asleep in the driver’s seat of the vehicle with the engine running, according to police documents and McNew. Carlson was awakened and arrested on suspicion of possessing a stolen vehicle.

“He was located just by an observant patrol officer for the stolen vehicle,” McNew said. “We didn’t know it was related. It was just good cop work that found him.”

Police developed enough evidence Wednesday to add counts of attempted murder, residential burglary, vehicle prowling, theft of a firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm to his suspected charges.

Carlson was previously convicted of burglary, criminal mischief with a deadly weapon and violating a protection order. He was sentenced to 30 days in jail and six months on probation after being convicted of second-degree child molestation in 2011, dating back to an incident when he was 17 years old or younger. Further information on that conviction was not immediately available.

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