Crime

Two Bellingham men sentenced to prison, jail for 2016 drive-by shooting

The Bellingham Herald

Two Bellingham men with gang ties pleaded guilty and were sentenced late last week for a 2016 drive-by shooting on Lummi Reservation.

Eric Joseph Miranda, 21, was sentenced Thursday to 3 ½ years in prison, with 18 months probation, a $900 fine and no contact with the victims. He pleaded guilty to one count of a drive-by shooting and one count of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records. Miranda originally was charged with one count of drive-by shooting, two counts of second-degree assault with a deadly weapon, one count of second-degree assault and one count of first-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.

His brother, Miguel Angel Miranda, 19, was sentenced Friday to six months in jail, $1,000 in fines and no contact with the victims. He pleaded guilty to first-degree attempted rendering criminal assistance. Miguel Miranda was originally charged with complicity to commit a drive-by shooting and second-degree assault, according to court records.

On June 26, 2016, officers responded to the report of a shooting in the 2600 block of Haxton Way, near Gooseberry Point. A man nearby heard “a couple popping sounds,” and jumped into his car. He then heard 4 or 5 more, according to court records.

The man got out, uninjured, and was confronted by a male who was pointing a rifle and yelling at him, court records state. The man fled over a fence into a house.

The man came back outside with his brother, and the pair realized the brother’s car had been hit by bullets. The two decided to pursue the suspect vehicle in separate cars, the records state. The suspect vehicle was later determined to be driven by Miguel Miranda.

During the pursuit, a male, who was later identified as Eric Miranda, stood up through the sunroof and pointed the gun “menacingly” before throwing it to the side of the road, according to court records.

At one point during the pursuit, the brothers boxed in the Miranda’s car, but Miguel Miranda reversed and hit the car behind him and fled. The brothers were able to box in the car again later with the help of Lummi Law and Order, the records state.

When he was interviewed, Eric Miranda had dried blood and open wounds on both hands. Blood was also found on the Ruger .22 caliber rifle that was thrown onto the side of the road. The blood on the rifle matched that of Eric Miranda. A .22 caliber round was also found in the vehicle in the front passenger seat, the records state.

In March 2016, Eric Miranda was charged in a felony case where gang-related graffiti tags were found on apartments and businesses in Bellingham. Prosecutors stated that security footage showed Miranda in a gold Honda picking up a man and woman after they tagged a building at Yew and Alabama streets.

Eric Miranda is identified as a “founding member of Sunset Crew” and a Southside Toker Sureno gang member, according to charging papers.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt

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