Police: Knife-wielding Bellingham man stopped by officers' quick reflexes

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDApril 30, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - A pair of Bellingham police officers stopped a knife-wielding man by grabbing his arms as he approached another man on Railroad Avenue early Tuesday, April 30.

Officers responded to a report of an alcohol-fueled fight between Randal William Stebner, 54, and a 44-year-old man at 1 a.m. on the sidewalk in the 1100 block of Railroad, said Bellingham police spokesman Mark Young. Neither man suffered serious injuries. They refused to explain what they were fighting about.

Toward the end of their brief conversations with police, Stebner clicked open a black pocketknife with a serrated 3-inch blade and took a step toward the other man, Young said.

The men were less than 3 feet apart when an officer grabbed the wrist of the hand that held the knife, according to police; another officer grabbed Stebner's other arm. He dropped the weapon as they pushed him against a chain-link fence.

Young praised the officers' quick reflexes.

"It was a remarkable effort," Young said, "to see they could do something before he did any damage."

After he was advised of his rights, Stebner refused, again, to talk with police, Young said. He was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first-degree assault.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read his dispatcher blog at blogs.bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher or follow him on Twitter at @bhamcrime.

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