Whatcom teen arrested in graduation party pistol-whipping


A Whatcom County teen suspected of hitting another young man with a gun at a graduation celebration at a Deming-area gravel pit was arrested Thursday, July 10, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff's Office.

Richard Zapata-George, who turned 18 June 1, was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Several groups of teenagers were celebrating the end of the school year at an old gravel pit off North Fork Road June 7 when an argument began. Zapata-George allegedly stepped up and pulled out a gun, hitting another 18-year-old in the head with it, Undersheriff Jeff Parks said. The gun went off while he was hitting the other teen, but the bullet didn't strike anyone.

During their investigation, deputies developed probable cause for Zapata-George's arrest, but they weren't able to find him. He was located Thursday evening on Sulwhanon Drive by Nooksack Indian Tribe Police, which alerted the Sheriff's Office.

Reach Zoe Fraley at 360-756-2803 or zoe.fraley@bellinghamherald.com.

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