Crime

Charge: Man made anti-police comment, fired gun near Lummi cop

Video: Suspect arrested in high-speed chase appears in court

Michael Martin during his first appearance in Whatcom Superior Court in the Whatcom County Jail in Bellingham Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. Martin is accused of assault, a drive by shooting and eluding arrest during a high speed police chase Tuesday.
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Michael Martin during his first appearance in Whatcom Superior Court in the Whatcom County Jail in Bellingham Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2015. Martin is accused of assault, a drive by shooting and eluding arrest during a high speed police chase Tuesday.

A pickup driver told his passenger that he was “not scared of the police” before firing off a gunshot near a Lummi policeman Tuesday afternoon, Oct. 27, according to a statement read in court by a deputy prosecutor.

Michael Joseph Martin Jr., 27, shook his head no as the prosecutor, David Graham, read that allegation Wednesday afternoon in court.

Police arrested Martin at the end of a roughly five-mile police pursuit from the east side of the Lummi Peninsula to the outskirts of Bellingham.

Officer Jeremy Hoyle of the Lummi Nation Police Department was driving a patrol car north in the 4000 block of Lummi Shore Road around 3:45 p.m. Tuesday when he heard the bang of a gunshot behind him, according to the statement. In his driver’s side mirror Hoyle saw a blue Chevy S-10 pickup driving north in southbound lanes. He pulled over and waited for the truck to pass — fearing that another shot would be fired, Graham said. The truck simply passed, however, and Officer Hoyle chased the truck as it headed east onto Marine Drive. The driver would not pull over.

Officers and sheriff’s deputies joined in the chase, tailing the pickup from the edge of the Lummi Reservation and through Marietta to the outskirts of Bellingham. Spike strips laid down by law enforcement tore up the truck’s tires near Alderwood Avenue and Williamson Way, but the pickup kept motoring east, weaving within its lane, according to police radio traffic.

Ultimately officers used a PIT maneuver — tapping a front corner of a patrol car into the back corner of the truck — to make the truck spin out, stopping its two occupants just south of Bellingham International Airport. The driver, Martin, put the car in gear again and rammed the patrol car of Whatcom County Sheriff’s Sgt. Kevin Mede, according to the statement read in court.

The Chevy came to a rest askew in the center of the Airport Drive.

Martin took a swig from an “alcoholic beverage” before he was taken into custody, Graham said. He suffered minor injuries while being detained. At times in the minutes that followed Martin, wearing a black-and-white Air Jordan T-shirt and gray Air Jordan shoes, reclined on the asphalt in silence. Once police asked him to get up, so he could be taken to an ambulance, he shouted expletives. Martin was taken to the hospital, eventually, and booked into jail Tuesday night.

A .357-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver, loaded with four live rounds and one spent casing, was found on the front floorboard of the truck, Graham said.

The truck passenger told police Martin had been driving recklessly on Lummi Shore before the chase, according to Graham’s statement. Then, when the passenger warned him about the police car, Martin made the comment about not being scared of cops and fired one round from the revolver out the driver’s side window, according to the passenger’s story. The prosecutor’s statement in court didn’t clarify if the barrel was aimed at the officer, or aimed at all. The passenger, a man, was detained but wasn’t listed on a jail roster Tuesday.

Martin has a long list of misdemeanors — assault in the fourth degree, malicious mischief, obstructing law enforcement, vehicle prowling — on his record. As an adult he has been convicted of one felony: theft in the second degree, for stealing baby wipes from the Haggen in Ferndale in July 2011. He’d been trespassed from the store for life five years earlier, so prosecutors charged him, as required by state law, with a felony.

The felony makes it illegal for Martin to possess a gun.

Martin is accused of committing a drive-by shooting, assault in the second degree, unlawful possession of a firearm and attempting to elude law enforcement.

In a jail courtroom on Wednesday, Martin stood beside a public defender, Shoshana Paige, and squinted as Superior Court Commissioner Thomas Verge explained his rights to him.

Court records list Martin’s last known as address as a home on the same road as the shooting. He said he’d live with his brother on Kwina Road if he can post bond.

Verge set bail at $250,000, as requested by Graham.

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

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