Man with flare gun arrested after incident at Blaine church


A Bellingham man armed with a flare gun was arrested Sunday morning near a Blaine church where he made threats about aliens and the terrorist group ISIS.

Stephen Rae Canaan, 33, is facing a charge of felony harassment in connection with the incident at the Dakota Creek Christian Center, 8732 Blaine Road.

No injuries were reported in the incident, said Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks.

Canaan was booked Sunday at the Whatcom County Jail. He remained in custody Monday.

“He walked into the church wearing a black tactical vest,” Parks said. “There was a flare gun/handgun-type pistol, zip ties and cord that he had put on the vest.”

Parks said Canaan asked to talk to one of the church pastors about 11 a.m. Sunday.

“(Canaan) became upset and they had a bit of a confrontation,” Parks said, adding Canaan began talking about “ISIS is coming and beheadings” and that he’d brought the zip ties to restrain aliens who were coming.

Parks described the vest as made of black ballistic material, but that it wasn’t a protective vest. The flare gun and flares were in the vest, and the zip ties and paracord loops were attached.

Canaan was asked to leave and a church official called police.

Canaan was arrested as he walked along Blaine Road. He said he’d been dropped off at the church by his father, but the father said his son wasn’t wearing the vest then.

Parks said the felony charge reflects a threat to kill and the belief that “people were in fear for their life.”

Church officials were not immediately available for comment.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty