Bellingham police officer, disoriented man injured in ‘excited delirium’ incident

A Bellingham police officer suffered a bloody nose as he detained a man who was high on drugs, bleeding, and breaking into a home, according to the police department.

The man, in his 20s, had cut himself as he jumped through the glass of a window at his home around 11:50 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 8, in the neighborhood near Ellis and Billy Frank Jr. streets, said Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

About four police officers responded amid reports the man was blocking traffic and had torn the windshield wiper from an occupied car. He attacked other cars and ran into a house, Vander Yacht said. One officer was punched in the nose as he tried to detain the man. Police fired a Taser at the man, which subdued him, and police pinned him to the ground.

Both the officer and the man were treated at St. Joseph hospital. Other officers needed to go through bloodborne pathogen protocols due to exposure to the man’s blood. Police spoke with a roommate who said the man had taken a narcotic, perhaps a synthetic form of LSD, though that remained to be confirmed.

“He was so out of control and detached from reality,” Vander Yacht said. “We really needed to get him to the hospital.”

Police were treating the incident as a medical emergency, a case of what’s called excited delirium. As a result, the man has not been accused of a crime, and his name has not been released.

Police also declined to release the name of the officer. He was allowed to go home for the rest of the day, and it was unclear if he would be off duty for a longer time.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb