City and County law enforcement collaborate to successfully arrest a fleeing suspect, determined to have felony warrants for his arrest. Upon locating the suspect and because of his continued non-compliance, one shot was fired; no one was injured and the suspect was safely taken into custody.
Bellingham Police Department (BPD) officers were called to the 2600 block of W. Maplewood for a shirtless male, who was reported to be screaming in a parking lot, punching a windshield and creating a disturbance in the neighborhood on Friday, December 28, 2018 at 5:45 pm. The male, later identified as William David Jefferson, 35, from Bellingham, ran into an apartment which did not belong to him and then fled out the back, jumping off a two-story balcony and fleeing, failing to stop despite several orders by a BPD officer on scene. Officers found out the man's name and discovered he had a felony warrant for Assault in the 3rd degree and Eluding from the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office (WCSO.)
Several officers came into the area, including a WCSO K-9 Deputy who was requested through mutual aid to initiate a track in search of Jefferson. Before a track could get started, the WCSO K-9 Deputy saw Jefferson running north in the 4000 block of Northwest Ave and confronted him. Jefferson did not comply with verbal commands to surrender and reached for his belt line as if to draw a weapon. The WCSO Deputy fired his weapon at Jefferson, who was not injured as a result. Jefferson then complied by getting on the ground. Several Bellingham Police officers arrived at the scene and Jefferson was taken into custody without further incident. No officers or Jefferson were injured during this rapidly unfolding incident.
Jefferson was booked into the Whatcom County Jail for his felony warrant, as well as Trespass 1st degree (running through an apartment which was not his) and Obstructing Law Enforcement Officers (running away and not complying with officers' commands.)
The Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Response Team (LEMART) was activated with Bellingham Police taking the lead in the investigation. The WCSO Deputy was placed on modified duty in accordance with their policies.
Chief David Doll said, “This serious event is an example of the split-second decisions law enforcement officers face in protecting our community and themselves. I am thankful that no one was injured in this dangerous situation and that the suspect ultimately complied with the officer's orders, resulting in his safe apprehension."
Undersheriff Jeff Parks said, “Officers and deputies place themselves in harms way on a daily basis to protect the public, apprehend dangerous offenders and enforce the orders of the Courts. As in this case, rapidly evolving circumstances combined with a sudden threat or irrational, unpredictable behavior creates a very dangerous situation for all involved. Ultimately the goal is to professionally perform our mandated duty despite these challenges, for our personnel to go home safely at the end of their shift and to assist the criminal justice system in holding offenders accountable."