Bellingham police seek help identifying people at riot

Extra 'party patrols' planned this month

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDOctober 17, 2013 

BELLINGHAM - Bellingham Police have released photos of 11 people they hope the public can help them identify as participants in a weekend riot.

Police also announced a fourth arrest related to the Saturday, Oct. 12, riot that caused thousands of dollars in damage to public and private property.

During the melee north of Western Washington University, hundreds of drunk college students gathered in the streets after police broke up a block party. After officers asked the crowd to clear out of the area near Laurel Park, some threw beer bottles, lawn chairs, dishes and pieces of cinder blocks at officers and patrol cruisers.

On Thursday, Oct. 17, police booked Western student Cameron S. Ehrlich into Whatcom County Jail for investigation of rioting, failure to disperse and interfering with a stop sign.

Three other people, none of them WWU students, were arrested Saturday right after the event: Korey S. McClay and Collin M. Lewis were booked for investigation of rioting, reckless endangerment, first-degree malicious mischief and failure to disperse, and Shawn N. Davidson was booked for investigation of failure to disperse and minor showing the effects of liquor in public, said Bellingham Police Lt. Rick Sucee.

Lewis also was booked on suspicion of obstructing law enforcement, Sucee said.

Police ask anyone who can identify those in the riot photos released Thursday to call Detective Gina Crosswhite at 360-778-8835.

Bellingham Police also announced Thursday they would increase party patrols in residential areas.

Bellingham and WWU Police already had planned to run a mobile booking unit commonly called the "Party Bus" over the next few weeks. But after the riot, they decided to add two to four emphasis patrol officers and work with other agencies, Sucee said.

Using the party bus, police will target loud and disorderly parties by responding to noise complaints. After obtaining a search warrant, officers may enter a residence and arrest underage drinkers, using the bus as a holding unit for processing.

With a new partnership, police also may call a mobile booking unit from Whatcom County Sheriff's Office if several people need to be transported and booked into jail for more serious offenses, Sucee said.

"Our party bus, you go in and come back out with a ticket," Sucee said. "Their booking van you go in, but you don't come out."

Funding for the extra party patrol officers will come from the Bellingham Police budget, Sucee said.

"It's something we didn't plan for," he said. "But for a public safety issue, if we've got to do it, we've got to do it, regardless of what's in our budget."

If there's a loud party in your area, you can call police at 360-676-6911.

Bellingham Police advise party planners to keep gatherings to a reasonable size; social media can lead to more people showing up than wanted. They also recommend touching base with neighbors when planning and keeping parties indoors.

Hosts may be cited for furnishing alcohol to minors if alcohol is served at a party. Hosts also can be liable for neighborhood damage caused by guests.

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Reach Samantha Wohlfeil at 360-756-2803 or samantha.wohlfeil@bellinghamherald.com.

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