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Roommate facing hate crime charge in Sunday attack

McClatchy

A man who allegedly threatened his roommates with a knife Sunday is facing hate crime and assault charges.

No injuries were reported in the alleged attack, which was reported about 3 a.m. at a home in the 2400 block of Superior Street in the Roosevelt neighborhood, said Bellingham Police Lt. Danette Beckley.

Beckley said Andre Marcel Siftsoff, 18, was arrested on charges of first-degree assault, third-degree malicious mischief, felony harassment and malicious harassment.

Malicious harassment is a hate crime under Washington state law.

“At one point Siftsoff threatened to kill the victim who was locked in the bedroom,” Beckley said in an email. “The other two roommates, as well as two visitors, tried to stop Siftsoff. Siftsoff brandished the knife toward one of the others while making derogatory statements regarding race and perceived sexual orientation.”

According to court records, Siftsoff received a one-year suspended jail sentence in December 2016 after pleading guilty to fourth-degree assault in connection with a domestic violence incident.

Beckley said Sunday’s incident began as Siftsoff was drinking with his three roommates and two visitors and they began fighting. Siftsoff went into the kitchen for a knife and the roommate who had been a target of Siftsoff’s threats locked himself in a bedroom.

“Siftsoff was reportedly banging on the door and kicking it, all the while making racial and homosexual slurs through the door,” Beckley said, adding two other roommates persuaded Siftsoff to leave.

Beckley said Siftsoff, still armed with the knife, returned to the home a short time later and kicked in the door. He fled when one of the visitors called 911.

Police arrested Siftsoff when he returned home about 12:30 p.m. Sunday, Beckley said. He fled again, but was caught near Hoagland Pharmacy, in the area of Yew Street.

It was the second hate crime reported to Bellingham Police in the past three weeks. A suspect is still being sought in the first case, where a man was shoved to the ground by an assailant who made references to the man’s alleged sexual orientation.

Beckley said that case remains an active investigation as detectives evaluate tips they received after releasing a photograph of a man police want for questioning.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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