Sheriff's office: Peaceful Valley shooting was not a random attack

THE BELLINGHAM HERALDDecember 16, 2013 

KENDALL - A shooting this weekend at a home in the Peaceful Valley area appears to be a targeted attack, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

A man armed with a semiautomatic handgun shot Anthony Steven Hite Sr., 55, several times in the torso at close range when he answered the front door around 9:50 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 14. Bullets went through the door before striking Hite. Several young children and other family members at the home, in the 8500 block of Golden Valley Drive, weren't hurt.

"We don't think it's random," said Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks, "whatever comfort that might bring to the community."

Sheriff's deputies, U.S. border agents and police dogs worked through the night but could not find the suspect.

Hite remained in critical condition at St. Joseph hospital Monday afternoon.

His family has cooperated with authorities, but no clear description of the shooter has emerged. Deputies do not know whether Hite got a good look at the man who tried to kill him, Parks said.

The shooter's motive remained unknown Monday.

Several detectives assigned to the case have tracked down witnesses and home security footage from the neighborhood. Blurry images show a man - possibly dressed in sweat pants - walking to the front door. That footage hasn't been released. So far, the pictures have not been very useful, according to the sheriff's office. Forensics experts are examining other evidence from the scene.

Deputies have not confirmed if the shooter had a car. An earlier report mentioned a silver Honda Accord, but that was only one of several vehicles in the area, Parks said, and not necessarily the shooter's getaway car.

Hite was convicted several years ago of a gang-related murder in the Chicago area, Parks said. Since moving to Whatcom County, he has had brushes with the law but no felony convictions. The sheriff's office considers him a confirmed gang member.

"But he may have gotten out of that," Parks said.

Court records show Hite requested a no-contact order in May 2012 because an acquaintance was "walking around our kids with two fully loaded clips and his gun stating that it's certain people in this house that he don't like." Hite didn't show up to a follow-up court hearing a month later, so the case was dismissed.

Deputies don't know if that man is connected to the shooting. They also don't know whether the gunman worked alone.

Tips can be directed to the sheriff's office detective division at 360-676-6650. After hours, call 911.

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

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