BELLINGHAM - City prosecutors want a Bellingham woman to cover the bill for a massive law enforcement response earlier this year, when she allegedly made up a story about a masked stranger who shot her point blank at her front door.
Victoria Ann Queen, 25, appeared in Bellingham Municipal Court for her arraignment Friday morning, June 14. She's charged with fabricating a report of a gunman on the loose on the morning of March 7, when she suffered one gunshot wound to the chest at her home in the 3000 block of Pacific Street.
She told police someone knocked on her door, so she answered it, and a masked man shot her. She lay down on a couch until an ambulance arrived.
Officers combed the neighborhood to no avail. Thirty-two hours later, police announced the wounded woman had changed her story. She shot herself. Detectives confiscated a small-caliber pistol as evidence.
If convicted of false reporting, a gross misdemeanor, Queen could face jail time.
Authorities have not calculated the total taxpayer expense of a manhunt that involved law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies, police dogs and a U.S. border helicopter. Assistant City Prosecutor Ryan Anderson expects to pin down a dollar figure by Aug. 1, a few weeks in advance of Queen's next scheduled court hearing.
Queen, a lifelong resident of Washington state, has no felony history.
She formally entered a plea of not guilty Friday. Beforehand, however, she told prosecutors of her willingness to "take responsibility" for the crime.
Queen declined to speak at length with a reporter but said she's looking forward to closing this chapter of her life.