Two workers at a 7-Eleven convenience store in the Sehome neighborhood suffered minor injuries as they fought an intruder who attacked them with a makeshift double-bladed knife early Friday, authorities said.
Jeffrey N. Zender, 58, of Bellingham was arrested on suspicion of first- and fourth-degree assault and booked into Whatcom County jail in connection with the attack at the 7-Eleven, 108 Samish Way, according to police.
Zender charged into the store about 4:30 a.m. Friday and confronted the workers, men aged 50 and 64, said Lt. Bob Vander Yacht, a Bellingham police spokesman. Zender, who has mental health issues and a history of arrests, brandished the weapon and wildly yelled “Where is he?” Vander Yacht said.
Vander Yacht said the weapon was an 8-inch folding saw and a 6-inch serrated knife that had been bound handle-to-handle with wiring to create a double-edged weapon.
As one employee dialed 911, Zender slashed the second worker in the neck, causing a 2- to 3-inch cut. That employee defended himself with a metal baseball bat that’s kept behind the counter, Vander Yacht said. The 64-year-old man disarmed Zender with the bat, and Zender fled after punching the 50-year-old worker in the face.
Officers responding to the 911 call nabbed Zender nearby.
Bellingham firefighters were dispatched, and the two employees were treated at the scene, Vander Yacht said. Zender didn’t require immediate medical attention, he said.