Gang members from Skagit County got into a fight and one pulled out a gun during a confrontation at the Lake Samish park Sunday, July 8.
The gun-waving 16-year-old from Mount Vernon threatened to shoot people, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office. He was later arrested and booked into juvenile detention.
Just before 6 p.m., two groups at Samish Park were flashing gang signs and a fight broke out, said Sgt. Larry Flynn.
Witnesses reported the teen took out a black handgun and pointed it at people, threatening to shoot, Flynn said. Some people involved in the fight chased the teen around and beat him up before deputies arrived, Flynn said.
Ferndale resident Cody Barry, 16, was hanging out with friends on the rocks nearby and saw the fight break out among about 20 to 25 people.
Barry said the teen and one other person ran into the water and continued to fight. Witnesses saw the teen throw the gun into the water, Barry said.
Witnesses tried to keep the teen under a bridge where he swam, but he ran into a nearby house. The teen did not know the homeowner, Sheriff Bill Elfo said.
Some of the other gang members ran after the teen telling him to stop, Barry said.
"The homeowner came out with two guns and pointed them at the gang members and everyone around saying they had him (the teen) cornered in the house," Barry said.
Deputies arrived about 15 minutes after the fight broke out and arrested the teen, Barry said.
Several people involved in the fight received minor injuries, but no one was seriously injured and no shots were fired, Flynn said.
Police and divers were unable to find the gun, Flynn said.
The teen was booked for investigation of felony harassment and felon in possession of a firearm. He has an extensive criminal history, Elfo said, citing convictions for first-degree robbery, first-degree theft and two counts of second-degree assault.
Also taken into custody was Mount Vernon resident Erik Melgar, 19, who had two warrants from Skagit County for disorderly conduct and third-degree theft. He was turned over to the Skagit County Sheriff's Office.
Elfo said he has been focusing more patrols on the area around the lake after seeing an increase in gang activity such as tagging.
"We've got to send a message that this isn't going to be tolerated in our community," he said.
Reach ZOE FRALEY at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 756-2803.
Reach SAMANTHA WOHLFEIL at email@example.com or 360-756-2883.