On Sunday, March 12, a knife-wielding man who allegedly stabbed a man in the neck was shot and killed by a police officer with the Bellingham Police Department (BPD). The identity of the suspect the police shot and killed has not yet been released.
According to a spokeswoman for the BPD, Lt. Danette Beckley, at around 4:20 p.m., the suspect stabbed a man in the neck on E. Holly St., near the Horseshoe Cafe. The suspect was then followed by witnesses until police officers found and subsequently shot him on Railroad Avenue, the Seattle Times reported.
KOMO News reported that, as the suspect was followed, the witnesses pursuing him relayed his location. The witnesses were still on the scene when the Bellingham police arrived on the scene and confronted the suspect.
According to The Bellingham Herald, Beckley said witnesses pursued the suspect one block north to the downtown Whatcom Transportation Authority bus station. The suspect died at the scene from a gunshot wound in his chest.
Beckley said she did not know how many shots were fired by the police. She said she just knew the suspect was wielding a knife when the officer made contact with him.
Beckley said no information was available regarding the identity of the suspect or stabbing victim. Continuing, she said more information would be released after the deceased suspect’s next-of-kin was notified.
Beckley said the stabbing victim was transported to a local hospital for treatment. She said it is unclear if the attacker and victim knew each other.
Police said the stabbing victim was rushed by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital. The condition of the stabbing victim has not been reported yet by authorities.
Beckley said that the stabbing is under investigation by the Bellingham Police department. The shooting, though, would be investigated by the Whatcom County’s Law Enforcement Multi-Agency Response Team (LEMART), because “a Bellingham police officer was involved.”
Later on Sunday, around 8 p.m. at the police station, Beckley said only one officer, a male, opened fire. He was wearing a body camera. She said that the suspect refused to comply with multiple commands given by the officer. Instead of dropping the knife as he was instructed, he advanced on the officer.
Reading from a prepared statement, Beckley stated that the police officer backed up, to try to create distance between himself and the suspect, as he gave commands to drop the knife. She added that the suspect refused to listen to the officer and drop the knife; therefore, he was shot.
In less than an hour after the suspect was fatally shot by the police, approximately two dozen police officers responded to the scene. They began investigating in detail exactly what happened, after Railroad Avenue was cordoned off with crime scene tape. The officers interviewed witnesses near where the suspect’s body lay, “covered by a white sheet.”
As the police interviewed eyewitnesses, outside of Everyday Music, located on 115 E. Magnolia St., “a police drone hovered overhead, surveying the scene.” Just feet away, the folding knife used in the stabbing could be seen, “with the blade out.”
Law enforcement officers conducting the investigation following the shooting of the suspect were largely from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. They will lead a multi-agency investigation into the shooting.
In Bellingham, Washington on Sunday, an unidentified male suspect who allegedly stabbed a man in the neck was shot and killed by a police officer after not complying with repeated orders to drop his knife. The police said that the officer who shot and killed the suspect has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is the department’s policy in all shootings that involve the police.
By John Samuels
Photo Courtesy Bellingham PD