Two Bellingham men arrested in connection with a March drive-by shooting in the Birchwood neighborhood that almost struck a teenager pleaded not guilty Friday in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Gene Oliver Parker Jr., 32, and Robert Kent Chase, 54, are each facing one count of first-degree assault while armed with a deadly weapon, one count of a drive-by shooting and five counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
They are both being held in the Whatcom County jail in lieu of $1 million bail.
Their trials have been tentatively set for May 14.
Shortly after 9 p.m. on March 9, Whatcom County Sheriff’s deputies received numerous calls for shots fired in the 3200 block of Bennett Drive.
When deputies responded to one of the houses, residents said two unknown men, later identified as Parker and Chase, fired at the house. Bullets nearly missed a 17-year-old standing on the porch, according to court records.
The teenager said he heard multiple shots fired, and moments later, had the gunmen shoot at him. The boy told deputies he heard a shot go by his head — it narrowly missed him and hit the house instead. He said wood splinters and debris struck him in the face, the records state.
One of the residents of the home told deputies a female friend was in a domestic incident with Parker and was hiding at the Bennett Drive house. Parker called the residence looking for the woman. After getting upset over the resident not being forthcoming about the woman’s whereabouts, Parker ended the last phone call by saying “I got something for you; I’ll come and give it to you,” records state.
The residents were so concerned, they had people stand outside to watch for Parker. Less than 30 minutes later, the shooting occurred, records state.
Detectives checked the area and found six bullet holes in one car, and one hole in another. They also found numerous 9mm shell casings in an area where the shooter is believed to have fired at the cars. There was one casing found just north of the residence, where the last round was fired — the 17-year-old would have been in clear view, the records state.
While deputies were on scene at Parker’s house in the 2500 block of Cagey Road, a witness called and said around 8:30 p.m., Parker and Chase demanded the witness get into their vehicle and go with them. The witness said they drove to a house on Lummi Shore where the men grabbed a handgun and an assault-style firearm, records state.
The witness said the men disappeared out of view and they heard numerous shots fired. When the men got back into the vehicle, Parker made a comment about the woman’s whereabouts and they drove to the Bennett Drive house.
Minutes after they arrived and Parker and Chase got out, the witness heard multiple shots fired again. Parker and Chase ran back to the vehicle and they left at a high rate of speed, the records state.
The witness told deputies Parker said “I think I got one … or I think I must of hit one,” records state. It was later determined that one of the juveniles standing on the porch tripped and fell as he fled for cover, according to the records.
The men drove to Chase’s house in the 2600 block of Cagey Road. Lummi Police arrived, the men denied any involvement in the shootings and the witness fled to call law enforcement, the records state.
A search warrant was obtained for Chase’s house, and deputies found five firearms, including a 9mm handgun that smelled of fresh gunpowder. They also found an AR-15 rifle with a suppressor, or silencer, according to the records.
Parker and Chase were arrested.
Both men are convicted felons and are ineligible to possess firearms.