By Zoe Deal
A suspect is in police custody after a random assault spree that left one person dead and two injured on Saturday, Oct. 6, according to a Bellingham Police Department press release.
The midday attacks occurred in the blocks surrounding Civic Field east of I-5, according to the release. Police received the first call at 11:05 a.m. from a woman who reported being hit by a stranger at Lakeway Teriyaki at 806 Lakeway Dr. The assailant reportedly fled on a bicycle.
Lakeway Teriyaki employee and Western student Lisa Nguyen witnessed the incident just after the restaurant opened at 11 a.m.
A woman was waiting for her food by the window when a man walked in and took a seat across the room, Nguyen said.
“Usually people come up to the front to order, but he was just sitting at the table so I assumed he was still making up his mind,” Nguyen said.
It all happened in a matter of seconds.
Nguyen said she looked up to see the man walking toward the woman, screaming.
“He just starts punching her.” Nguyen said. “We’re all like screaming at him to stop. He hit her several times in the head.”
Nguyen said her boss pulled the man off the victim and told him to leave.
The woman sustained minor injuries, according to the release.
The second reported attack, involving a suspect of the same description, occurred shortly after near Lincoln and Potter Streets, according to police. The man sustained serious but non-life-threatening injuries, according to police.
Police reportedly received the third call at 11:19 a.m. about a gravely injured man found near Meador Street. By the time police arrived, the man had died of his injuries.
Witnesses reported seeing a man with blood on his hands who matched the suspect’s description, according to the release. The suspect was spotted by a BPD patrol officer after the area was stormed by police and a K-9 team, with additional support from the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.
The suspect was taken into custody and booked into the Whatcom County Jail on probable cause for first-degree murder and second- and fourth-degree assault. At this time it does not appear the victims knew the suspect, according to police.
This story will be updated as more information becomes available.