Crime

Two teenage boys charged with shooting in Cornwall Park

Two teenage boys have been charged with felony assault for opening fire on a man in Cornwall Park.

The boys, 17, were walking by the south end of the park around 3:20 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 12, when they saw a 21-year-old man driving by in a white Honda.

The boys said they had a “long-running gang dispute” with the man and his group, according to charging papers. One of the boys — who is about a month older than the other — told police a passenger in the car aimed a gun at him. Then the Honda parked outside the disc golf course, and the passenger aimed the gun again. The driver got out and started walking toward the trunk.

The younger boy opened fire, in fear that the driver was going to get a gun of his own, according to the charges. Two shots from a .22-caliber revolver went into the ground; a third round was fired in the general direction of the car. One shot hit an RV in the park. That boy told police he threw the gun into the woods.

Someone else opened fire on the car with a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun. One of those bullets pierced the car’s windshield.

The shooters ran off. Police caught up to them within a few minutes.

No shots were fired from the car. Officers recovered two shotguns from that group, said Bellingham Police Sgt. Mike Scanlon. No one in the car has been charged with a crime.

At first a slightly older boy blamed his brother for firing the .380-caliber pistol. He said his brother dropped the gun and fled. He led police back to where the gun was in the park, hidden under a pile of leaves and wrapped in a blue bandana, according to the charges.

Under questioning from police he blurted, “(Expletive) it! I did it! I shot at them!” according to charging papers.

All four weapons were recovered as evidence, Scanlon said.

Both boys were charged in juvenile court with assault in the second degree and unlawful possession of a firearm by a juvenile. Court records suggest neither boy has a felony record in Washington state.

The Bellingham Herald does not name minors charged with a crime in juvenile court in most cases.

Early Thursday morning, Aug. 13, several neighbors reported what sounded like more shots fired — eight to 11 shots — in the park around 2:20 a.m. Officers did not write a full report on the incident, Scanlon said, and police could not corroborate whether gunshots were actually fired.

Reach Caleb Hutton at 360-715-2276 or caleb.hutton@bellinghamherald.com. Follow him on Twitter at @bhamcaleb.

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