Police said they will not arrest a man who stabbed another man with what is believed to be a pocketknife Wednesday afternoon on G Street.
Officers responded to a 12:46 p.m. call at the Drop-In Center, an emergency homeless shelter at 1013 W. Holly St. where both men were staying.
Police didn't release the men's names because it didn't turn out to be a criminal investigation.
"911 had received a telephone call from the self-admitted stabber, who indicated to dispatchers that he had stabbed someone in self-defense," Bellingham Police Lt. Don Almer said Thursday.
The initial confrontation between the two men began at the center, Almer said, but the stabbing occurred on G Street north of West Holly Street. Then the man who did the stabbing ran back to the center to report the incident.
The caller told police he had been bothered repeatedly by a man who had been swinging a knife attached to a rope or string.
It struck the caller on the thumb at one point. That's when the knife and a second blade the other man had both dropped.
The caller picked them up and walked away. He was followed by the other man, who kicked and struck him and knocked him to the ground.
The caller then told officers that, in self-defense, he stabbed the other man with one of the knives.
The man who was stabbed was taken to St. Joseph hospital but didn't need stitches for the wound, which were consistent with those caused by a small pocketknife, according to Almer.
The shelter doesn't allow weapons, said Hans Erchinger-Davis, executive director of Lighthouse Mission Ministries, which operates the center.
The man who was stabbed didn't talk to police about the incident, Almer said.
"Due to what officers and detectives investigated, along with witnesses’ observations and statements, there is not probable cause to arrest the reporting party for assault," he added.