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Preston Carlson

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

A Longview-area transient who police say last March entered a sleeping Longview man’s bedroom and fired at him in an early morning shooting pleaded guilty Thursday to first-degree attempted murder.

Preston Michael Carlson, 26, will be sentenced Thursday.

He was arrested on March 12 after Longview officers were dispatched to a shooting in the 400 block of Quail Lane in West Longview. The victim's mother told dispatchers that her son Michael Erickson had been shot.

Officers found Erickson lying on the floor of his bedroom bleeding from a gunshot in his abdomen, according to police records.

Erickson, 22, told police he awoke to a curtain falling down and saw a man standing in his open bedroom window, six feet away, wearing a white plastic mask and a hood.

That man, later identified by Longview Police as Carlson, pointed a semiautomatic handgun through the window and fired two shots, Erickson said, hitting once.

According to police records, Carlson was the ex-husband of Erickson's girlfriend and the two had met several times, but Erickson did not know why Carlson would want to shoot him.

Carlson last week pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted murder, first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, residential burglary, possession of a stolen vehicle, second-degree theft, and two counts of first-degree trafficking in stolen property.

According to his guilty plea statement, Carlson admitted that: "On or about March 12 ... with the intent to commit first-degree murder, I committed an act which was a substantial step ... by shooting (Erickson) in the torso with a handgun."

A police search of Carlson's phone found Facebook messages in which he appeared to brag about the shooting, according to his arrest record.

About four hours before the shooting, Carlson offered to take another man on a “fatty mission,” which would involve “boom boom n hit mike and his mom. Take everything and there rig and bounce. .. we tske (sic) them out ... DEAD.”

Hours later the next morning, he again messaged the man, according to his arrest record:

“Dude listen to the scanner right ... now.” “Mikes done. .... Poof. No more him. ... I need to sell the gun.” .

The messages went on:  “He woke up cause i was trying to slide the laptop out and he quickly got up thinking he was gonna be tuff man... (Then) he startes screen ... like a lil girl.”

Later that day, police found Carlson asleep in the driver's seat of a stolen vehicle with the engine running, according to police documents and Longview Police Corporal Branden McNew. After arresting him, police found a white plastic mask, a Ruger handgun, multiple kinds of handgun ammo, and a stolen TV inside the car.

Carlson's standard sentencing range is roughly 23 to 31 years in prison. According to court documents, the Cowlitz County Prosecutor's Office will recommend 25 years  at his sentencing Thursday.

As part of his plea, two additional charges of first-degree trafficking in stolen property and individual charges of residential burglary, second-degree identity theft and a protection order violation were dropped.

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