Crime

Bellingham man accused of holding family captive, requiring 2018 SWAT response, pleads to felony harassment

How to support victims of domestic abuse

Whether someone has asked you for help or you sense someone is in distress, here are some general guidelines to help support possible victims of abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial.
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Whether someone has asked you for help or you sense someone is in distress, here are some general guidelines to help support possible victims of abuse, be it physical, emotional, sexual, psychological or financial.

A Bellingham man was sentenced to nine months of electronic home monitoring after a SWAT team was called and he was arrested for assault, threatening to kill and holding his ex-wife and son captive for nearly two days in January 2018.

Balwinder Singh Nagra, 46, was sentenced Aug. 28 in Whatcom County Superior Court after he pleaded guilty May 8 to one count of felony harassment.

Nagra was originally charged with two counts of first-degree rape (domestic violence), two counts of felony harassment (domestic violence), first-degree kidnapping (domestic violence), second-degree kidnapping (domestic violence) and unlawful imprisonment (domestic violence).

Whatcom County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Jonathan Richardson said follow-up interviews with law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office were held individually with Nagra’s ex-wife and son and they each gave a substantially different description of what happened than what was originally reported. Richardson said based on what he and law enforcement officers were told and what the ex-wife and son would testify to, there was no evidence to support the original charges.

“I felt obligated to amend the charges and bring it to the court’s attention,” Richardson said.

In a separate 2019 case, Nagra also was sentenced Aug. 28 for two counts of violating a domestic violence no-contact order. He was sentenced to 364 days in jail, with 364 suspended as long as he’s a law-abiding citizen, court records show.

Nagra previously was convicted in 2016 for reckless endangerment for shooting a gun at a Sikh festival near Lynden after he got into a fight with several men in 2014, according to court records.

He has other convictions for felony harassment, malicious mischief and drug violations, records show.

Resources

If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, you can contact the following local resources for free, confidential support:

Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services: 24-hour Help Line: 360-715-1563, Email: info@dvsas.org.

Lummi Victims of Crime: 360-312-2015.

Bellingham Police: You can call anonymously at 360-778-8611, or go online at cob.org/tips.

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.
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