Crime

Late-night sword fight on Bellingham street ends in cut to man’s hand, other arrested

Tri-City Herald

A sword fight between two men ended with one in need of treatment for a cut to his hand and the other in custody on charges of assault and robbery.

Officers responded to the area near the McDonald’s at 1914 King St. in Bellingham about 11 p.m. Monday, Oct. 17, after witnesses called to report the fight, Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht said in an email.

The victim, 24, who lists his address at the Lighthouse Mission in Bellingham, told officers he had been walking with Brandon Lee C. Gaona, 26, who is homeless, to look for cigarette butts to smoke.

The victim had been carrying two swords, each with 19-inch blades, in sheaths on his back, and Gaona asked if he could see one. When the man drew one of the swords, Gaona began acting strangely, “wigging out,” yelling and demanding the man hand him the sword, the victim told police.

Gaona, Vander Yacht said, then pushed the victim to the ground and punched him on the left side of his face before he could stand up. Gaona had picked up the sword, so the victim drew the other one from its sheath. He told police he was defending himself.

The two hit their swords together several times before Gaona left a 1-inch cut at the base of the man’s right thumb. Gaona ran from the scene. The victim was later taken to St. Joseph hospital.

When officers found Gaona, he was pushing a cart with a black sword inside, Vander Yacht said. He admitted to being in a sword fight.

He was booked into the Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of first-degree robbery for taking the sword and second-degree assault.

Kyle Mittan: 360-756-2803, @KyleMittan

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