Update Thursday, Nov. 14. See below for earlier post.
BELLINGHAM — A driver drew a handgun on a man who had been drunkenly staggering in the middle of East Sunset Drive, leading Bellingham police to block off streets and cite both men for disorderly conduct Wednesday evening, Nov. 13.
Several cars had to swerve around Derek Robert Schuyler, 27, as he tottered into traffic near the busy intersection of East Sunset and Orleans Street, said Sgt. Jason Monson. One driver, Johnathan Daniel Haan, got fed up and stopped his red Saab car to shout at Schuyler to get out of the street.
Haan got out of his car. As Schulyer approached, he reached into his pockets, startling Haan, who thought he might have a weapon, according to police. Haan took out a handgun and pointed it at Schulyer, Monson said. The drunk man responded by taking his hands from his pockets and throwing coins at Haan.
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A number of witnesses called 911 to report a fistfight. One said shots had been fired but that turned out to be false.
Schulyer was cited for disorderly conduct, on grounds that he intentionally blocked traffic; Haan faces the same charge, because he "didn't need to" escalate the situation, Monson said. Police won't pursue an assault charge, Monson added, because Haan had no way to know that Schulyer wasn't armed when he pulled out his own gun.
An initial police report didn't note the kind of gun or whether it was loaded. Haan was allowed to keep the gun. Neither man was taken to jail.
Police detained a total of five people at the scene. Three of them turned out to be innocent bystanders.
Officers blocked streets for about a half-hour, snarling traffic, while they investigated.
BELLINGHAM — A fistfight reportedly escalated into someone whipping out a gun in the middle of the road Wednesday evening, Nov. 13, leading police to block off one of Bellingham's busiest intersections at East Sunset Drive and Orleans Street.
Officers swarmed the area and blocked off streets, making a mess of 5 o'clock traffic for about a half-hour, while they detained five people in the 1400 block of East Sunset Drive, according to initial police scanner traffic.
Other details were scarce, or conflicting, in the immediate aftermath. Amid the many calls 911 dispatchers took, at least one person reported shots had been fired. But at no point did police ask for medical aid — which is good news.
I've left a message with the Bellingham Police Department, in hopes of clearing up what exactly happened.
This post will be updated.
For now, here's the initial info from our @BhamCrime Twitter feed.
Scanner: Fistfight in the middle of the road at Sunset & Orleans. Then shots possibly fired. One person involved hopped into a Red Saab. — Bellingham Crime (@bhamcrime) November 14, 2013
(My typo. "Red" should be lowercase.)
Scanner: "Emergency traffic. Trying to detain approximately five individuals" in 1400 block of E. Sunset. — Bellingham Crime (@bhamcrime) November 14, 2013
Scanner: "We have five detained. ... We're going to try to clear up some of this traffic mess." — Bellingham Crime (@bhamcrime) November 14, 2013
Scanner: Some detained people being released, because they're witnesses. — Bellingham Crime (@bhamcrime) November 14, 2013