Crime

Drug deal gone bad led to shooting, attempted double-murder, Everson police say

Whatcom County Public Defender Alan Chalfie, left, appears with Tita Paul who was making his first appearance in Whatcom Superior Court Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. He is accused of two counts of attempted murder.
Whatcom County Public Defender Alan Chalfie, left, appears with Tita Paul who was making his first appearance in Whatcom Superior Court Monday, Nov. 7, 2016. He is accused of two counts of attempted murder. The Bellingham Herald

A drug deal gone awry in Everson led to a shooting and an attempted double-murder Saturday night, Everson Police Chief Dan MacPhee said Monday.

“The case is still under investigation, but at this time it appears it may have been drug-related, the robbery,” MacPhee said.

Authorities have withheld the names of the two men who were shot in the 8:30 p.m. Saturday incident on the 600 block of Chestnut Street, southwest of downtown Everson. They’re in their 20s and not from the immediate Everson area, MacPhee said. One was shot in the buttocks. He had been released from St. Joseph hospital by Monday, according to police. The other man was hit in the shoulder and upper thigh, and he was due to be released from the hospital soon.

Meanwhile, the suspected shooter, Tita Keanu Preston Paul, 21, remained in jail to face two counts of attempted murder and one count of robbery in the first degree. On Monday police said he faces a fourth felony charge of possessing a stolen gun. He has not been formally charged.

Paul made a very brief appearance in a jail courtroom Monday. A deputy public defender, Alan Chalfie, told the court that Paul planned to hire an attorney from a private law firm. So another court hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday. Public records suggest Paul has no criminal record in Washington state courts.

Over the weekend bail was set at $250,000.

The Bellingham Herald reporter Caleb Hutton contributed to this report.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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