This man brandished a handgun, leading to Sehome lockout. Police hope somebody knows him

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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.

Bellingham police are searching for a man they believe brandished a handgun at another person in early May in the Happy Valley neighborhood and caused a lockout at Sehome High School.

Police released a sketch of the man Monday. He is described as being 30 to 40 years old, with a medium to chubby build. He’s 5 feet, 5 inches to 5 feet, 7 inches tall, had stubble on his chin, pockmarks on his cheeks and is of Hispanic descent.

On May 7, when the victim saw him, the man wore a white hard hat with no decals, a canvas jacket, like a Carhartt, an orange sweatshirt with reflective construction striping, brown pants, possibly Carhartt, and black work boots.

The victim was in the 2700 block of Bill McDonald Parkway when the man brandished a handgun. The victim then followed the man’s verbal commands to follow him, according to police.

The victim was able to get away, unharmed and called police.

Nearby Sehome High School then instituted lockout measures, which is different than a traditional lockdown. In a lockout, the exterior doors and window blinds are closed but classes continue normally, according to school district officials.

The school district reported at the time of the incident that a student called 911 about a “concerning situation near campus” and the lockout was started.

The lockout began around 12:45 p.m. that day and continued until classes let out for the day at 3:15 p.m. After-school activities continued as normal that day.

“Our students’ safety is our No. 1 priority, and our school leaders and district safety and emergency staff have remained in communication with the police department about its ongoing investigation,” said Dana Smith, communications manager for the Bellingham School District.

Bellingham police said they’ve searched the construction areas at Sehome High School without success.

Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy said the case is still currently an active investigation, which is why few details are being released.

“As far as the sketch being released now, it has been an ongoing investigation with leads being followed. The investigators are in a spot where the leads they had were followed and are now looking to continue identifying a suspect – the sketch is the mechanism by which to do that,” Murphy said.

If you have any information that may help police identify the man in the sketch, use case number 19B-26442 and call Detective McGinty at 360-778-8823, or submit a tip using the tipline:

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.