Bellingham police investigating shooting death of man

A Bellingham man was shot to death Friday night, Nov. 20, but his identity likely won’t be made public until Monday to give more time for officers to notify his extended family, police said Saturday.

Detectives are currently investigating the shooting but do not have any suspects, said Detective Sgt. Mike Johnston of the Bellingham Police Department.

The shooter remains at large.

The shooting occurred at about 11:15 p.m. Friday, after neighbors reported hearing an argument between people in two cars stopped on Ivy Street near the intersection with North Garden Street, Lt. Steve Felmley said.

A single gunshot rang out next, and one car, a darker colored sedan, sped away, going north on Garden Street.

Neighbors found the victim, believed to be in his 40s, near his car and lying in the grass on the north side of Ivy Street with a chest wound.

His car still had its engine running, its driver’s side door was open and its parking brake was set when officers arrived at the scene, according to Mark Young, a Bellingham police spokesman.

The man died at about 11:30 p.m., according to Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfogel. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.

Felmley said this is the first homicide in Bellingham this year.

Bellingham Fire Department paramedics treated the man in the back of an ambulance in an attempt to save his life but were unable to do so, Assistant Chief Andy Day said. The victim was not taken to St. Joseph Hospital and died in the ambulance.

While the man’s immediate family was notified Saturday, his extended family may not know about his death so police will delay releasing his identity, Young said.

“We have to keep in our forethought that this is a homicide investigation, but it’s also the death of a loved one,” Young said. “As a consideration for the family we would much rather have them hear from us before they hear or see it on the news.”

On Saturday, detectives interviewed friends of the man and people he was with prior to the shooting, Johnston said.

Two detectives are working the case now, but more may be added as new leads develop, Johnston said.

Detectives are trying to create a timeline of events leading up to the shooting, including the man’s whereabouts earlier in the night, who he was with and why he was in that area when he was shot, Young said.

Young did not say what kind of gun was used, but added that the autopsy and forensic tests will help identify that.

“As time progresses hopefully we’ll have more answers,” Young said. “No stone is going to be left unturned.”

Young said detectives want to speak with any potential witnesses to this crime and anybody with information about it.

“Somebody out there knows something,” Young said. “We’re looking for anybody who has any information.”

The man’s car was towed from the scene early Saturday morning.

Anyone with information about this case should call Detective Daniel Kelsh at (360) 778-8690.