Man allegedly fires shots in fight over Bellingham tenant’s rent

An argument about overdue rent at a Bellingham house ended with a gun pressed to a man’s head, gunshots, and one man in jail facing felony charges.

Neighbors heard the gunfire and a resident screaming that he might be shot around 10:50 p.m. Saturday on the 3400 block of Toad Lake Road, the farthest outskirts of Bellingham’s city limits.

At the scene police learned a stranger had confronted a tenant about how he hadn’t paid rent despite moving in two months ago, Bellingham police Lt. Mike Johnston said. The stranger was later identified as the homeowner’s boyfriend, Zachary Stephen Dupuie, 34.

The tenant did not recognize Dupuie. The men argued until it turned into a physical fight with both men scuffling on the floor. At some point Dupuie pulled out a pistol and fired two shots, Johnston said, and the tenant recalled feeling the hot muzzle of a gun against his head.

The men separated. Dupuie called 911. Police met him outside by Academy Road. He stated he fired the shots as a warning, Johnston said, and at least one bullet hole was discovered in the floor. Officers recovered the alleged weapon, a Czech Rami 9mm pistol, and two shell casings from the scene.

Neither man needed emergency medical aid, though police noted what appeared to be a burn mark on the tenant’s head.

Police booked Dupuie into jail on suspicion of assault. Bail was set at $100,000.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb