BELLINGHAM - A man fired a shotgun at police in a Bellingham motel room Monday, Aug. 26, according to police. The two officers returned fire, leaving the man, 54, with multiple gunshot wounds.
The resident of Room 22 at the Villa Inn, 212 N. Samish Way, remained in surgery at St. Joseph hospital as of Monday evening. Hours after the shooting, his name had not been released.
Neither officer was hurt. They had gone to the ground-floor room at 5:05 p.m. to pick up the man for a mental health evaluation, said Bellingham Police Deputy Chief Flo Simon. At some point, Simon said, the man pointed a short-barreled shotgun at them and fired one round. Officers shot back with their Glock sidearms. In the immediate aftermath, police didn't know how many shots were fired, and witness accounts conflicted: four, six, nine - even 15.
It's not clear how long officers were at the motel room before the man fired at them, Simon added.
Chad Waymack, who often stays at the Villa Inn, saw the officers roll up in their cruisers. He followed them, at a distance, and saw them knock on the door. One went inside and one stayed near the doorway, he said. After a brief delay - "within two minutes," he said - he heard at least four gunshots.
The resident of Room 22 had lived there for some time - a month at the least, neighbors said. One motel guest, Curtis Seaver, said he'd been asleep when the gunshots rang out a few doors down.
"Four shots," he said. "Bang, bang, bang, bang."
First-responders swarmed the motel. A SWAT team armed with assault rifles guarded the cordoned parking lot while onlookers smoked cigarettes, watching the scene unfold. Paramedics loaded the man onto a backboard and into an ambulance.
Police recovered the shotgun from the room. It was brownish, with a short barrel, Seaver said.
The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office will investigate the shooting, and the county prosecutor's office will decide if the use of deadly force was justified.
A media release from law enforcement labeled the incident an "Attempted Murder of Police Officers."
Details on the man's injuries and condition weren't available.