Crime

Man, woman arrested in drug-related Ferndale shooting

Two people have been arrested in connection with the weekend drug-related shooting at a Ferndale motel, and a third man was being questioned Tuesday morning, authorities said.

Police arrested Riley Dewitt Cooper and Stevi Patricia Day on charges stemming from the shooting Saturday that injured Dustin Monroe Wilson – a bullet hitting him in the head but causing only minor injuries, said Riley Sweeney, communications officer for the city of Ferndale.

Cooper was booked into Whatcom County Jail on charges of first-degree assault with a firearm and controlled substance manufacturing, delivery and possession with intent. Day faces charges of first-degree rendering criminal assistance and controlled substance manufacturing, delivery and possession with intent.

Wilson, 30, was booked into Whatcom County Jail on Sunday on a felony warrant for escaping community custody. He was transferred to the custody of the state Department of Corrections on Monday, according to online jail records.

Meanwhile, an unidentified suspect was detained early Tuesday in connection with the incident, and was still being questioned about 9 a.m. Tuesday, Sweeney said. Police declined to name that man until he was charged with a crime, Sweeney said.

Sweeney said the man being questioned was detained by police acting on a tip that he was staying in Room 311 at the Super 8 Motel on Main Street near Interstate 5 exit 262.

Police knocked at 3 a.m., but he refused to open the door, Sweeney said.

“We secured the area. Then we got enough information to secure a search warrant,” Sweeney said. “As we were preparing to enter, he opened the door and came out.”

Inside, officers found signs of drug activity, including evidence that drugs were flushed down a toilet, Sweeney said.

“We believe he’s connected to the shooting, but he’s just being questioned at this time,” Sweeney said. “It is part of our investigation into that shooting.”

Police were alerted to the shooting about 11 p.m. Saturday by staff at St. Joseph hospital, where Wilson sought treatment for a gunshot wound. Medical personnel are required to notify police when they treat certain kinds of injuries, including gunshot and knife wounds.

A hospital nursing supervisor said Wilson was treated and released, but could not disclose the nature of his injuries. Ferndale police Lt. Matt Huffman said he assumed that Wilson had merely been grazed by the bullet.

According to a Ferndale police statement issued Sunday, Wilson said he went to the Orca Inn Suites, 5370 Barrett Road, to use drugs.

Wilson said that while he was in the motel room, he was shot in the head by an unknown assailant. Wilson called a relative, who drove him to the hospital.

Based on Wilson’s statement, police got a search warrant for the motel room, which showed signs of drug activity and further evidence of a shooting, police said. Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies assisted Ferndale police with the investigation.

According to The Bellingham Herald files, Orca Inn Suites was built in 1996 as a Best Western hotel, but it closed and was turned into an assisted living facility. It opened in April as the 39-room Orca Inn Suites, near I-5 and the Smith Road overpass.

Owner Tony Dhariwal said a guest in an adjoining room heard a “thump” about the time of the shooting, but no suspicious activity was seen.

Sweeney said Orca Inn Suites is operating under a two-year conditional-use permit. At the time the permit was issued, neighbors expressed concerned about possible criminal activity from an extended-stay motel. Sweeney said Ferndale officials could review the permit at any time.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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