Crime

Sudden Valley man awakes to neighbor pounding on his door and pointing a rifle at him

On duty with Whatcom County’s Crisis Intervention Deputy

Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Deputy Jamie Collins spends much of his day responding to behavioral health-related calls.
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Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Crisis Intervention Deputy Jamie Collins spends much of his day responding to behavioral health-related calls.

A Sudden Valley resident awoke early Saturday, May 25, to a 38-year-old neighbor who police believe to have mental health problems pounding on his door and pointing what appeared to be a scoped rifle at him.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office booked Tod Edward Wightman into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of second-degree assault, felony harassment, second-degree malicious mischief and first-degree burglary, according to jail records, and he is being held in lieu of $75,000 bail.

According to sheriff’s probable cause statement on the incident provided to The Bellingham Herald by chief deputy Kevin Hester, the resident, who lives on Sunflower Circle, said he awoke at 5:44 a.m. to someone pounding on his door. The resident came to the door and reportedly saw Wightman pointing a scoped rifle at him.

Wightman lives with his parents in the Sudden Valley neighborhood, according to the probable cause statement. He demanded to be let in and then began kicking the door, breaking out a window that was in the door, the statement read. The damage to the door and window was estimated at $800.

Another witness arrived and told Wightman to leave, but Wightman reportedly turned the rifle on him. The witness, who also was armed, challenged Wightman, who ultimately fled.

“Wightman surrendered himself to police and had clear mental health problems,” the statement read.

Wightman told deputies that he believed women were in the house and were being raped, according to the statement, and he believed one of the men was trying to kill him.

Deputies reportedly found Wightman with six knives, two pairs of gloves and a ski mask. The rifle also was found to be a high-speed .22 caliber pellet rifle designed to kill small animals, according to the report, but “has the capability of causing serious bodily injury or death to humans, and it is not readily identifiable as an air rifle.”

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.

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