Crime

Bellis Fair mall shooting victim expected to survive

A man was shot several times Friday evening, June 19, in the Bellis Fair mall parking lot outside the food court. He was rushed to St. Joseph hospital.
A man was shot several times Friday evening, June 19, in the Bellis Fair mall parking lot outside the food court. He was rushed to St. Joseph hospital. THE BELLINGHAM HERALD

A man shot in the face in front of Bellis Fair mall is expected to survive, police said Monday, June 22.

The man, in his early 20s, had been sitting in his red Chevy Impala outside the mall food court when several people approached him around 7 p.m. Friday.

Someone yelled something about money, and someone opened fire. The man in the Impala was hit by more than one bullet and suffered at least one gunshot wound to the face, according to police.

Investigators now believe he was shot during a “drug transaction of some type that went badly,” said Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

“There’s no strangers here,” he added.

No security footage of the shooting has emerged, according to police.

So to piece together what happened, detectives have depended largely on witness accounts that conflict on some key details, like the number of suspects and the color of their car.

The shooting victim fled in the Impala north to Target and crashed into several parked cars. Meanwhile the suspects fled in a dark sports car. Some described the car as silver; others said it was black. Some said only two young men went up to the car; others said as many as four.

One witness, Penelope Barringer, described the suspects as Hispanic, in their late teens or early 20s, with short hair, white T-shirts and dark pants.

This week police continue to comb through neighboring businesses’ security systems for images of the getaway car.

Vander Yacht declined to identify the shooting victim by name Monday but said he’s expected to live. He has undergone several surgeries and, as of this weekend, had been in critical condition.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Read the Dispatcher blog at bellinghamherald.com/dispatcher-blog and follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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