BELLINGHAM - A man was arrested Saturday, June 30, in the stabbing of another man at a Bellingham homeless camp.
Bellingham police said the victim was stabbed twice in the torso Saturday morning, in what was either a "chance encounter" robbery or a drug deal turned violent.
Police arrested Collin D. Cofield, 20, within about 15 minutes of the stabbing. But getting a straight story from witnesses proved difficult, said Bellingham police Sgt. Ken Brown.
One witness said the 42-year-old man was stabbed next to a tent at a homeless camp at 7:55 a.m. in the 300 block of West Orchard Drive. Another story suggested it happened near some railroad tracks in the area.
Police aren't sure whether the two men had set up a drug deal, or whether Cofield planned to rob the man of money at random, Brown said.
"Depends on who you talk to," Brown said. "So far, in both versions the stabbing does not appear to be justified."
The victim suffered two wounds to the torso from a knife with a fixed blade. He was taken to St. Joseph hospital - a few hundred feet to the south - and is expected to survive.
Police found Cofield walking along the railroad tracks near Squalicum Parkway. He admitted to a confrontation, but not the stabbing, Brown said.
A knife was not recovered by police.
Cofield was booked into Whatcom County Jail on investigation of first-degree assault. Police continued to canvass the area and interview witnesses into the afternoon.
Cofield has an extensive history in juvenile court.
At age 15 Cofield pleaded guilty to beating a homeless man who asked him for a beer in Maritime Heritage Park. Cofield was drunk when he hit the man with brass knuckles, leaving a gash to his forehead that needed stitches. Prosecutors said Cofield then sat down on the grass "as if nothing had happened."
He was sentenced to a minimum of 15 weeks in detention for that assault.
Last year Cofield was sentenced to 90 days in jail for threatening to shoot a Bellingham police officer in the head.
Reach Caleb Hutton at email@example.com or call 360-715-2276.