A Bellingham man was arrested over the weekend in connection with a drive-by shooting from the summer that authorities say seems minor but could have had tragic consequences.
Derrick Brown, 24, of Bellingham, was arrested by the Washington State Patrol on Sunday, Sept. 18, and booked into Whatcom County Jail on charges of carrying, exhibiting and drawing a weapon, second-degree assault with a firearm and drive-by shooting. He remained in custody Tuesday, Sept. 20, and no bail had been set.
His arrest stems from an incident July 12 on Interstate 5 near Bakerview Road, said Sgt. Mark Francis of the Washington State Patrol.
Francis said a man was driving his two-door 2007 Ford Mustang northbound past the Bellis Fair Mall ramps, when a late-model Subaru Impreza approached from behind and began to pass. As the Impreza drew alongside in the left lane, a passenger pointed a handgun at the other driver, Francis said.
“The guy in the back smiled and began shooting at him,” Francis said. “It ended up being a BB gun, but it could have been serious, on the freeway” had the other driver panicked and lost control of his car. A BB or pellet round can cause serious injury, especially if fired at close range, he said.
Francis said the driver of the Mustang pulled to the shoulder and found six impact points on his car. He was not hurt, and a damage estimate was not given, Francis said.
Francis said authorities had little trouble finding the suspect’s car, because “it was a pretty distinctive Impreza,” a 2015 or 2016 with significant body damage, parts held together with duct tape, and at least one missing bumper.
Troopers stopped the car the next day, and questioned the occupants.
A subsequent investigation identified Brown as the shooter, Francis said. Brown was arrested Sunday when a trooper recognized him as he walked south along the shoulder of I-5 near Slater Road, Francis said.