Argument in doctor’s office leads to escape, lockdown at Nooksack Valley High

A Whatcom County man has been arrested after a domestic dispute at a medical office in Sumas ended up with a temporary lockdown at nearby Nooksack Valley High School late last week.

Sumas Police arrested and booked Rigoberto Chavez Espinoza, 28, into Whatcom County Jail Thursday on suspicion of second-degree assault, unlawful imprisonment, felony harassment and third-degree malicious mischief. He was released Friday evening on $20,000 bail.

According to information provided to The Bellingham Herald Monday by Sumas Police Chief Daniel DeBruin, a dispute between Chavez Espinoza and a woman he was familiar with began at approximately 5:20 p.m. at Sumas Medical Clinic, 112 Columbia St.

DeBruin said Chavez Espinoza had a firearm and made threats, but the victim was not injured in the assault.

The pair departed from the medical clinic and left town in the victim’s Jeep, DeBruin said. Chavez Espinoza reportedly prevented the victim from leaving and threw a beer bottle at the windshield, spider webbing it.

The victim managed to get out of the Jeep at the intersection of East Badger Road and Nooksack Road, got in a car passing by and was driven to the Sumas Police Department, DeBruin said.

Since there were evening sporting events going on at Nooksack Valley High, the school was placed on lockdown as a precaution, DeBruin said, though Chavez Espinoza also fled the area in a relative’s car.

With the assistance of the Everson Police and Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, DeBruin said Chavez Espinoza was taken into custody shortly afterward on Everson-Goshen Road near Everson Elementary.