Crime

Ferndale man dead, father wounded in shooting near Lynden High School

Whatcom County Sheriff's deputy Mark Lann investigates the scene at 1213 Bradley Road east of Lynden High School  Wednesday morning, Nov. 23, 2011, where Jesse L. Winchester, 22, of Ferndale, was found dead in the home after an apparent homicide. His father, Jeremiah L. Winchester, 40, was taken to St. Joseph hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. Behind Lann is the Lynden High School stadium.
Whatcom County Sheriff's deputy Mark Lann investigates the scene at 1213 Bradley Road east of Lynden High School Wednesday morning, Nov. 23, 2011, where Jesse L. Winchester, 22, of Ferndale, was found dead in the home after an apparent homicide. His father, Jeremiah L. Winchester, 40, was taken to St. Joseph hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. Behind Lann is the Lynden High School stadium. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

LYNDEN — One man was killed and his father suffered a gunshot wound to the head late Tuesday night, Nov. 22, at a two-story house near Lynden High School.

Jesse L. Winchester, 22, of Ferndale, was found dead in the home after a shooting was reported by a witness at 11:11 p.m. at 1213 Bradley Road, according to Lynden Police.

An autopsy performed Wednesday morning revealed Winchester had been shot in the chest and the arm with a large-caliber handgun, said Whatcom County Medical Examiner Gary Goldfolgel.

Winchester died from blood loss and collapsed lungs, Goldfolgel said. The death is considered a homicide.

The other victim, Jeremiah L. Winchester, 40, was taken to St. Joseph hospital with a gunshot wound to the head. Police were waiting for approval from doctors to interview him; it’s unclear whether he’s expected to recover. No update on his status was available.

Police have spoken to one witness who heard the gunshots but did not see it happen, and are trying to speak with another person who may have been in the house, said Lynden Police Deputy Chief John Billester.

Police believe the person who fired the shots fled the scene in a vehicle. Because it was dark, Billester said, police have been unable to get a description of the vehicle so far.

Investigators are still establishing how the shooter knew the victims, Billester said. No more information about the identity of a suspect or motive had been released as of Wednesday afternoon.

"My heart is breaking," said Noma Winchester, the mother of Jeremiah and grandmother of Jesse.

Jesse Winchester helped out each year with the Bellingham Scottish Highland Games. His grandfather, Glen Winchester, has served as director of the games and as president of the association that puts them on.

"He did a lot of the field work, he built fences and set up tents," said Peter Rolstad, another leader of the Bellingham Highland Games Association.

The past couple of years, Jesse had been in charge of much of the field setup for the games, including leading a crew of workers to get everything ready for events.

Jesse attended Squalicum High School and was captain of the wrestling team in 2007. He was named the team's outstanding wrestler his senior year, won the Graham Morin Memorial Award and the Jesse Jameson Courage award.

"He led our team the last two years and really kind of helped build up our program again through his leadership," Squalicum coach Mark Parrish said at the time.

Jeremiah Winchester has an extensive criminal record, including guilty pleas to several counts of forgery and prescription fraud.

Classes at Lynden High School were on regular schedule Wednesday.

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