Crime

Suspected shooter, 2 others arrested in Lakeway drive-by shooting

Police arrested three people Wednesday, Aug. 31, in connection with this week’s drive-by shooting on Lakeway Drive near downtown Bellingham.
Police arrested three people Wednesday, Aug. 31, in connection with this week’s drive-by shooting on Lakeway Drive near downtown Bellingham. The Bellingham Herald

Police arrested three people Wednesday, Aug. 31, in connection with this week’s drive-by shooting on Lakeway Drive near downtown Bellingham.

Their arrests came about 8 p.m. following an afternoon standoff involving the Whatcom County Sheriff’s SWAT team and negotiators at a Nugents Corner trailer park where a relative of the suspect lives, authorities said on Thursday, Sept. 1.

Police said the suspected shooter is a 17-year-old boy whose name was not being released because he is a minor. Also arrested at the home were Katherine Marie Abitia, 19, who is facing charges of first-degree assault and drive-by shooting; and Jacquelyn Azure Elzea, 28, who was arrested on suspicion of third-degree driving with a suspended license, first-degree assault and drive-by shooting. A fourth person in the home was not arrested.

“No shots were fired and no one was injured,” Undersheriff Jeff Parks said in a statement.

Abitia is accused of driving the car when the 17-year-old in the front passenger’s seat allegedly fired two pistol shots into a car driven by his cousin as the two cars were stopped at a light on westbound Lakeway at the intersection of Jersey, Ellis and Holly streets. Elzea was also in the car, said Bellingham Police Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

No one was injured in the shooting about 8 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 30, as two bullets pierced the driver’s side of the victim’s car. Vander Yacht said the weapon was not recovered, but the holes it left in the car indicate it was in the .38 caliber range.

Vander Yacht said the boy has gang ties, but police believe the shooting stems from an unrelated family dispute – the alleged victim has accused the 17-year-old of burglarizing her car.

Parks said the arrests came as detectives kept watch about 1:30 p.m. Wednesday on a trailer park in the 3500 block of Cedarville Road, off the Mount Baker Highway. They obtained a search warrant for a trailer home, and deputies surrounded the area to limit traffic in and out of the trailer park.

Parks said the women and the resident who wasn’t charged surrendered early in the standoff, but the teenager required persuasion.

“A little prodding was necessary,” Parks said. “A distraction device was deployed, which causes a loud explosive noise.”

Because of the suspect’s gang ties, deputies used caution in approaching the trailer and waited to act until a SWAT team and negotiators arrived, Parks said.

“This was a violent crime involving a firearm,” Parks said.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty

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