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Teenager wanted for pistol-whipping Custer teen at graduation party

DEMING — Sheriff's deputies are looking for a teenager accused of pistol-whipping another young man — causing a bullet to discharge on impact — at a graduation party last weekend near Deming.

Several groups of teens had gathered at an old gravel pit off North Fork Road to camp and celebrate the end of the school year late Saturday, June 7, said Whatcom County Undersheriff Jeff Parks.

Two 18-year-old young men got into a fight around 10 p.m. and one of them pulled out a handgun. Deputies are still sorting through why they were fighting and what happened next — witness accounts varied because of the darkness and chaos, Parks said — but some witnesses stated the armed man pointed the gun, and then "clocked" the other young man in the head with the pistol. The gun went off.

Some people who heard and saw the gunshot thought the bullet had winged the victim, who lives in the Custer area. He had a serious cut to his head when an ambulance met him at the Nooksack River Casino in Deming. But the injury came from blunt force, not a bullet, according to the sheriff's office.

Deputies have probable cause to arrest the suspected gunman on a charge of first-degree assault, and possibly unlawful possession of a firearm, Parks said. But they've been unable to track him down. His name has not been released to the public.