Man wanted for murder arrested while trying to cross the Canadian border

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A Kent man accused of fatally shooting another man and leaving his body in an abandoned field in Auburn in late March was arrested late Saturday night while trying to cross the Canadian border, according to law enforcement officials.

Abbas Salah Zghair, 24, was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder and first-degree criminal impersonation, according to Whatcom County Jail records.

On March 24, Auburn police were called around 8:30 a.m. to the 4900 block of D Street Northeast in Auburn for the report of a dead body, according to Commander Steve Stocker with the Auburn Police Department. A 31-year-old Kent man was found dead of an apparent gunshot wound in the vacant lot that used to be the Valley 6 Drive-In movie theater, Stocker said.

Stocker said the victim’s identity, where he was shot,and the type of weapon used are not being released at this time due to it still being an active homicide investigation.

Video footage from nearby businesses was collected and a suspect vehicle was identified. The license plate returned back to Zghair, Stocker said. Detectives went to Zghair’s house late last week, but he wasn’t there, Stocker said. They also took custody of his vehicle, he said.

Around 8 p.m. on Saturday, Sumas police officers were called to the Sumas border crossing. A man, later identified as Zghair, had presented an ID that was not his, according to Sumas Police Chief Daniel Debruin.

After Sumas police and Customs and Border Protection investigation, a Customs fingerprint request identified the man as Zghair, Debruin said.

Zghair was arrested and booked into the Whatcom County Jail early Sunday morning. He was transferred into the custody of the Auburn Police Department and is currently being held in the Maleng Regional Justice Center in Kent, according to King County Jail records.

Reporter Denver Pratt joined The Bellingham Herald in 2017 and covers courts and criminal and social justice. She has worked in Montana, Florida and Virginia.