.Police arrested a Bellingham man Wednesday night after he allegedly assaulted a woman and fled from officers. They used a bean-bag shotgun round to subdue him.
Brett Anthony Hoffman, 26, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree assault, first-degree criminal impersonation, obstructing a police officer and a Department of Corrections charge. His first appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court was scheduled for 3 p.m. Thursday.
Just before 11 p.m. Wednesday, Bellingham police were called to the 200 block of East Bakerview Road after someone reported a fight involving a handgun. Witnesses on scene told officers they heard glass breaking and a man and woman fighting, according to Bellingham Police Lt. Danette Beckley.
Hoffman was fighting with a 33-year-old Bellingham woman in a parking lot, Beckley said. During the fight, Hoffman allegedly threw a glass bottle on the ground and later pushed the woman down into the glass, cutting her hand, Beckley said.
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Witnesses intervened until the woman got into a nearby vehicle and police arrived, Beckley said.
Officers at the scene saw a vehicle back up, hit something and accelerate toward them, forcing them to move out of the way, according to Beckley. It's as yet unclear who was driving the vehicle, she said.
A man standing near the vehicle, later identified as Hoffman, tried to run away. Officers chased him, as they were unsure whether Hoffman was the suspect with the handgun. They caught up with him and took him to the ground, Beckley said.
As Hoffman struggled with an officer trying to arrest him, another officer fired off one round of a drag-stabilized baton, commonly known as a bean bag shell, hitting Hoffman in the leg, Beckley said.
“The officer recognized that based on the totality of the circumstances available to him at the time that the less lethal tool was the appropriate response to the threat being presented,” Beckley said.
Hoffman was detained and gave a false name until another officer recognized him, she said.
The woman was advised by medics to get stitches in her hand but was uncooperative and upset officers had arrested Hoffman, Beckley said. The woman was later taken to the hospital due to her injury and level of intoxication, Beckley said.
One of the witnesses had a concealed handgun, but it was not used during the fight, Beckley said
Hoffman has previous convictions dating to 2009 for possession of a stolen vehicle, felony drug possession, fourth-degree assault, second-degree assault (substantial bodily harm), and a juvenile conviction for third-degree malicious mischief, according to court records.
The age of the woman was corrected June 15, 2018.