Gunman's 911 call released after Nevada Street shooting

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDMay 30, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - A Bellingham man reluctantly admitted to shooting his neighbor earlier this month after a confrontation on Nevada Street, according to the 911 call released this week.

A recording of the 12-minute phone call was made public in response to a records request by The Bellingham Herald.

"Um, OK, um, somebody already called the police," begins the call from Kamuran Daniel Chabuk, 27, a graduate teaching assistant in Western Washington University's math department. "So. ... "

"For what, sir? For what?" the dispatcher responds.

"Somebody came to my property and - and tried to attack me."

According to prosecutors, Chabuk had heard his neighbors loudly wrestling in a front lawn on the opposite side of Nevada Street around 10 p.m. May 11. He and his fiancée walked over to see if anyone needed help.

Those wrestling told the couple that nothing was wrong. Some of the neighbors, including 30-year-old Joshua Kiener, had been drinking earlier in the evening, according to prosecutors.

Chabuk pulled out a cellphone. He recorded video from a vantage point near his neighbors' cars. Kiener thought he saw Chabuk messing with a car, possibly vandalizing it, according to charges filed in Whatcom County Superior Court.

So Kiener approached Chabuk and demanded to know what he was doing. Kiener didn't hear an answer, according to prosecutors. Chabuk went back across the street to his duplex. Kiener and a friend followed him to a 60-foot-long concrete pathway that leads to Chabuk's front door.

Witnesses heard Chabuk telling Kiener he was on private property. Chabuk - who had a concealed pistol license - pulled out a 9 mm Smith & Wesson pistol. Kiener asked him what he was going to do with the gun, according to Chief Criminal Deputy Prosecutor Mac Setter.

Then Chabuk shot Kiener with three rounds: one in each leg and one below his ribcage. Investigators are still trying to determine what compelled Chabuk to fire his gun.

In the 911 call, the dispatcher asks Chabuk eight times, "What happened?" or "Who shot him?" Two minutes and twenty-five seconds into the recording, Chabuk admits he's the shooter.

"How many times did you shoot him?" she asks.

Silence.

"How many shots did you fire, sir?"

"I don't remember."

Kiener survived. The friend who followed him to Chabuk's walkway called police. At first, the caller says the bullets were fired into the ground, and Kiener declines an ambulance.

"Are you sure?" the friend asks Kiener. "Are you positive?"

Then he sees blood flowing from a gunshot wound below Kiener's ribcage. Quickly the caller changes his mind about the ambulance. The phone call ends when police arrive.

Officers arrested Chabuk when he peacefully exited his house about 15 minutes after the shooting.

Prosecutors charged Chabuk with first-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon. Chabuk's father, Ahmet Chabuk, posted bond on $200,000 bail last week. The defendant now resides in Kitsap County, where he grew up. He has been banned from WWU's campus during the investigation.

Kamuran Chabuk could not be reached for comment. His father, a semi-retired attorney assisting in the defense's case, claimed his son thought he saw a rock or weapon - Kamuran wasn't sure, Ahmet said, because it was dark - in Kiener's hand.

Public Defender Starck Follis said the shots were fired right outside of Chabuk's door. As for talk of a weapon in Kiener's possession, Follis kept mum.

"(Chabuk) has a right to remain silent," Follis said.

The shooter has chosen to exercise that right: He declined to speak at length with detectives or prosecutors.

The cellphone was seized as evidence. But the video hasn't broken the case open. It's shot in the dark with a low-quality camera, Setter said. Forensics experts with the Bellingham Police Department are trying to clarify the images and audio. For now, Setter said, the footage has revealed nothing to affect the seriousness of the charges.

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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