Authorities shot and wounded a 46-year-old California man accused of threatening people with a machete and then firing a crossbow at law enforcement as they approached him in Arroyo Park on Sunday, according to a Bellingham Police Department news release.
No one else was hurt during the incidents, which occurred on or near the Interurban Trail, just east of where the trail crosses Old Samish Way near Chuckanut Drive.
The man was identified as Micah James Godfrey of California. He was arrested and booked into Whatcom County Jail, where he remained Monday on suspicion of first-degree assault and felony harassment.
Events began unfolding Sunday afternoon, Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald Monday in an email exchange.
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“We got the first of several 911 calls at about 2 p.m. There were several other calls made to the 911 center shortly after that, all reporting the man with the machete,” Murphy said.
The people were on the Interurban trail, according to Undersheriff Jeff Parks.
“There was at least one person chased with the machete” according to early and preliminary information, Murphy added.
One person was chased out of Arroyo Park and into its parking lot, Murphy said.
A Bellingham Police officer and a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office K-9 deputy responded to the call and helped search for Godfrey, according to the news release.
Godfrey allegedly shot at the officers with a crossbow about 2:55 p.m. Sunday as they approached him in his camp in a canyon in the woods in Arroyo Park, according to the news release, Undersheriff Jeff Parks and emergency radio dispatches.
“We believe he fired at them multiple times,” Parks told The Bellingham Herald Monday in a phone interview.
The officers returned fire and it is believed that Godfrey was shot twice, according to Parks, although he stressed that what happened remained under investigation.
Godfrey was treated for his injuries, which were not life-threatening, according to the news release.
Bellingham Police and the Whatcom Sheriff’s Office asked Ferndale Police to investigate what happened, according to Parks.
“We called in a third party since both the county and the city were involved with the use of force,” Parks said. “We believe, initially, that the officers clearly acted in self-defense but, again, that’s all under investigation.”
The Washington State Patrol also was asked to come in to process the crime scene.
The officers who shot Godfrey have been administratively re-assigned, which is part of each agency’s policy, according to the news release. Their names have not been released.
Godfrey has a criminal history from California, including a federal conviction for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the news release.
“I am very thankful that all responding officers were uninjured in doing the dangerous work they do and were able to stop this individual before he could harm others,” Bellingham Police Chief David Doll said in the news release.
The Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Response Team and the Washington State Patrol Crime Scene Team interviewed witnesses as part of the investigation.
Old Samish Road was closed from 30th Street to Chuckanut Drive during the investigation but was re-opened at 1:30 p.m. Monday.