Man awaiting trial on child porn charges reportedly seen pointing gun at cars on I-5

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

A Bellingham man, who court records show is awaiting trial for child pornography charges, reportedly was seen Tuesday pointing what appeared to be a handgun at cars traveling southbound on Interstate 5 near the Bakerview exit.

The Bellingham Police Department booked Sean Eric Eugene Nichols, 26, into Whatcom County Jail on suspicion of weapons capable of producing bodily harm — a misdemeanor. Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald Nichols also was booked on another misdemeanor warrant for third-degree theft.

According to jail records, Nichols is being held in lieu of $2,100 bail.

Police responded to the 3900 block of Bennett Drive at 11:28 a.m. Tuesday after Murphy said there was a report of a man pointing a gun at the freeway. Witnesses reportedly told the responding officer it appeared the man, later identified as Nichols, was holding what appeared to be a handgun and tracking cars traveling on southbound I-5, and witnesses said they feared he would begin shooting at cars.

The officer soon located Nichols, thanks to the description provided by witnesses, at the nearby the Cruisin Coffee, Murphy said.

When the officer told Nichols to stop and put his hands up, Murphy said he became argumentative and refused to follow orders. Instead of complying, Nichols reportedly began reaching into his pocket and throwing items on the ground.

One of the items he threw appeared to the officer to be a gun, Murphy said, and Nichols continued to argue, refuse to get on the ground and threw items from his pockets on the ground. Once other officers arrived, they were able to safely take Nichols into custody.

Officers examined the gun Nichols had thrown and found that it was a wooden-handled pellet gun, Murphy said. There also was an orange tip on a short barrel.

According to Whatcom County Superior Court records, Nichols is awaiting a jury trial scheduled to begin Oct. 7 for possession of depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct and second-degree viewing depictions of minors engaged in sexually explicit conduct.

Court records state that on Jan. 25, 2017, officers responded to Nichols’ Roosevelt neighborhood residence after his mother reported that he had child pornography on his computer. The mother reportedly told police that Nichols had shown her a website that he was viewing that showed young girls posing naked from the waist up and because Nichols had made comments about wanting to have sex with young girls.

The mother allowed police to enter Nichols’ bedroom and turned his computer, laptop, cell phone and game system over to police, according to court records.

On June 29, 2018, police obtained consent to search the electronic devices, court records said, and officers located “hundreds of images of young female children” estimated to be 5-12 years old, many posing in provocative manners and revealing clothing. Officers also reportedly located a folder titled “more yummy lil ones” with 62 images of a girl approximately 7 years old posing.

According to the court documents, Nichols spoke with officers and admitted to viewing images of children engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

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.