Here’s what caused police to close Northwest Avenue Tuesday and brought out SWAT

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The Bellingham Police Department enforces the law within Bellingham city limits.
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The Bellingham Police Department enforces the law within Bellingham city limits.

A man who got in an argument with his roommates fired a gun in the air, forcing the Bellingham Police Department SWAT team to respond to safely remove the roommates from the home and officers to close a section of Northwest Avenue Tuesday, April 2.

Thomas Peter Skondin Jr., 50, was booked into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of aiming and discharging a firearm and felony harassment. According to jail records he is being held in lieu of $25,000 bail. Whatcom County Superior Court records show Skondin is scheduled to be arraigned April 12.

Officers responded at 11:59 a.m. to the 3900 block of Northwest Avenue for the report of the gunshot, according to information provided by Lt. Claudia Murphy. In transit, officers learned that Skondin had reportedly discharged a gun in the backyard of the house and was making threats that he was going to shoot two male roommates he was arguing with.

Murphy said the two roommates took shelter in an outbuilding to protect themselves from any other gunshots, as Skondin was intoxicated and still had the gun.

SWAT and the Crisis Negotiation Team were called to help deescalate the situation, Murphy said, and the two roommates were rescued by SWAT members utilizing the BearCat armored rescue vehicle.

Crisis negotiators, meanwhile, attempted to contact Skondin, and the BearCat’s public address system was used to call him out of the house. Skondin soon emerged without weapons and was taken into custody without further incident.

Police obtained a search warrant for the house and found several firearms, Murphy said.

Northwest Avenue was closed between Interstate 5 and West Bakerview Road for approximately an hour because of the incident, according to Bellingham Police tweets.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.