Crime

Bellingham man sentenced for drive-by shooting at trailer park

A Bellingham man must spend more than four years in prison for a drive-by shooting at a trailer park north of Ferndale, a Whatcom County judge ruled.

Around 1 a.m. April 24 a group of five people rode in a pickup to Evergreen Mobile Park, in the 6800 block of Enterprise Road, to “recover a friend’s vehicle,” according to charging papers.

They got into an argument with a woman, 46, who lives there. She threatened to call the cops, so they left without recovering the vehicle.

The resident went back inside and watched from a bedroom window as the pickup drove off. Then a bullet — a single .25-caliber round — shot through the wall beneath the bottom left corner of the window, missing the woman by “inches,” according to the charges. The bullet struck a mattress.

Sheriff’s deputies tracked down the pickup’s occupants at a Bellingham apartment. One of the men, 25, claimed he knew nothing about the gunshot. Two of the three women in the truck, however, identified Brandon Maurice Thompson, 21, as the gunman. They said Thompson fired the shot, waited for the truck to drive off, then threw the gun out the window, according to the charges.

One of the women, the driver, said she demanded to know what Thompson thought he was doing. Soon afterward police dogs found a .25-caliber pistol near the roadside, in the same area the driver said it had been tossed.

Thompson admitted to deputies that he’d gone to the house but denied opening fire. He was arrested on suspicion of assault in the second degree, drive-by shooting while armed with a firearm, and unlawful possession of a firearm by a felon.

At the time, Thompson had six felony convictions on his record. Three of those he committed as a juvenile: burglary, possession of stolen property, and assault in the second degree.

He’d also been charged with a series of crimes in summer 2014, for his alleged use of a credit card that had been stolen in a vehicle prowl in the Roosevelt neighborhood of Bellingham.

Police arrested Thompson when they saw him riding his bike on Aug. 22, 2014. In a bag in his shorts, jail deputies found Ecstasy and heroin. Thompson was charged with possessing stolen property, identity theft and two counts of drug possession, according to charging papers. He posted $3,000 bond, and was out of jail until the morning of the drive-by shooting.

Months later, on Oct. 10, while still waiting for his next court date, Thompson broke out a window in jail. A corrections deputy asked Thompson, through a chow hatch, what had happened. Thompson confessed he’d been trying to get someone’s attention by hitting the window with a broom handle and the window broke.

Earlier this month Thompson admitted guilt to assault and possessing stolen property, both in the second degree. Thompson still must cover the cost of breaking the jail window, listed as $1,000 in charging papers, but a charge of malicious mischief was dropped in a plea bargain.

Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder approved the plea deal last week, ordering Thompson to serve four years and two months in prison. Sentencing papers say he has to repay about $401 for the credit card thefts, too.

Caleb Hutton: 360-715-2276, @bhamcaleb

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