Residents nab home-invasion suspect; 2 flee

Residents of a downtown Bellingham apartment complex captured and overpowered an armed robbery suspect in a botched home-invasion, sparking an intensive air and ground search for a pair of suspects who fled Saturday afternoon, Jan. 24.

Arrested was 19-year-old Datyous Mahmoudian of Bellingham, said Bellingham Police Sgt. Ken Brown. Police were looking for Mahmoudian’s two accomplices, who escaped during the altercation in which Mahmoudian was apprehended, Brown said.

Brown said the incident began shortly after noon Saturday when a man answered a knock at the door of his apartment above the Starbucks coffee shop at Railroad Avenue and Holly Street. Three men — dressed in black, with hoods and masks — forced their way into the studio unit, Brown said.

“They pushed their way in and were making demands,” Brown said. Brown said he was unsure what the suspects wanted from the tenant.

As the apartment tenant fought with the intruders, one of his guests ran to the street, screaming for help. Brown said other residents of the building went to the tenant’s aid.

“They were able to tackle and subdue one of the three assailants (Mahmoudian),” Brown said. He said bystanders recovered a small semiautomatic pistol from Mahmoudian’s waistband and secured it for police.

Both other suspects dashed empty-handed through the alley behind the apartments, Brown said. He said they were last seen running west on Holly Street.

Police officers, canine units and a U.S. border security helicopter searched for the suspects without success.

Meanwhile, the apartment tenant was taken by ambulance to St. Joseph hospital, where he was treated for facial injuries suffered in the attack.

Mahmoud suffered minor injuries and was treated at the scene, then booked into Whatcom County Jail on charges of assault, burglary and robbery. Bail was set at $30,000.