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Attempted murder suspects found guilty and sentenced

Whatcom County Courthouse in Bellingham, WA (July 29, 2016). Whatcom News file photo

On April 3rd, Robert Kent Chase, age 55, was sentenced to 1 year confinement with credit for time served after being found guilty of 4 counts of 2nd degree unlawful possession of a firearm by a jury according to court documents.

Court documents also indicate that on April 18th, Gene Oliver Parker, Jr., age 33, was sentenced to 7.75 years confinement with credit for time served after pleading guilty to 2nd degree assault, witness tampering and unlawful possession of a firearm in Whatcom County Superior Court. The sentencing included an additional 3 years due to the use of a firearm during the assault.

Parker and Chase were both booked into the Whatcom County Jail on March 10, 2018 charged with suspicion of 1st degree attempted murder and 1st degree unlawful possession of a firearm following a report of shots fired in the 3200 block of Bennett Drive in Bellingham on March 9th about 9pm. According to a statement released by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office shortly after making the arrests,

Deputies contacted the occupants of a residence in the immediate area, who reported unknown suspects had fired multiple shots at the residence.

The occupants of the residence told deputies that a female friend had come over after having a domestic dispute with her boyfriend, identified as Gene PARKER.  PARKER reportedly called the residence multiple times looking for his girlfriend and became upset when the resident was not forthcoming about the female’s whereabouts. On one of the last phone calls, PARKER concluded by stating, “I got something for you, I’ll come over and give it to you…” The resident reported that approximately 30 minutes after the threat, the shooting occurred.

Deputies located PARKER at his residence in the 2500 block of Cagey Rd. A second suspect, Robert CHASE, who also lives on Cagey Rd., was contacted after deputies were told he was involved in the shooting on Bennett Dr. Both PARKER and CHASE denied any involvement in the shooting.

After interviewing the involved parties, deputies applied for and were granted a search warrant for CHASE’s residence. Upon execution of the search warrant, deputies located several firearms, to include a 9mm handgun, .22 handgun, .22 rifle and two AR-15 rifles. Deputies noted that the 9mm handgun smelled of gunpowder.

Having previously been convicted of felonies, both Parker and Chase were prohibited from possessing firearms.

Chase is currently appealing his jury trial verdict while awaiting trial on additional charges including multiple felony possession of explosive devices and unlawful firearms charges. These charges are related to weapons and homemade explosives seized during a search of his Cagey Road residence subsequent to the drive-by shooting incident.

Parker is currently in the custody of the Department of Corrections serving his sentence.

Chase is currently out of custody after posting a $50,000 bond on April 19th. He is scheduled to reappear in Whatcom County Superior Court regarding the explosives and firearms charges on May 15th.

X-ray image of imprevised explosive device found during search of Cagey Road residence (April 3, 2018). Source: Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office
X-ray image of an improvised explosive device found during a search of a Cagey Road residence (April 3, 2018). Source: Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office
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