FERNDALE, Wash. — As of 5:40am on Tuesday, October 4th, Barrett Road has been blocked and businesses at the northeast corner of Barrett Road and Main Street were reportedly closed.
Multiple law enforcement agencies have responded to the area and according to radioed reports the road and business closures are for public safety concerns. People were allowed to leave, but not enter.
Main Street remains open through the area.
The public is advised to avoid the area.
About 6:30am, City of Ferndale issued the following statement.
Law enforcement is responding to a situation at the intersection of Barrett and Main Street. Please avoid the area if possible. More updates to come. City of Ferndale (October 4, 2022)
Washington State Patrol Trooper Jacob Kennett said at 7am the police presence was due to “an armed and dangerous subject at the Super 8 Motel.” He added, “We ask that you avoid the area, and if you’re at the motel to shelter in place.”
Ferndale Police Spokesperson Riley Sweeney told Whatcom News that a Ferndale Police officer had conducted a traffic stop on a white Chevrolet Blazer on Main Street about 4:10am and the subject vehicle pulled into a shopping center parking lot. As the officer approached the vehicle, the subject inside opened the driver’s door and pointed an AR-style rifle at the officer. As the officer moved to a position of cover, the subject drove away.
Officers followed the suspect vehicle which was located abandoned near Main Street and Interstate 5.
The subject was reported to have been seen entering the hotel carrying a rifle.
Whatcom County special weapons and tactics (SWAT) were conducting a training nearby and were able to respond quickly. Bellingham Police SWAT personnel are also on scene.
As of 9:30am, little had changed in the area while a negotiation team attempted to make contact with the subject according to radio transmissions from the scene.
According to unconfirmed radio transmissions from the scene, the subject’s room in the hotel had been breached and tear-gassed. As of 10:10am, 1 person was being detained.
The suspect was safely taken into custody at 10:10am, there is no further danger to the public at this time. The Ferndale Police would like to thank all of our partner agencies for their support during this incident. City of Ferndale (October 4, 2022)
As of 10:25am, businesses and Barrett Road remained closed in the immediate area.
As of 10:35am, Barrett Road and the retail center parking lot had been reopened to traffic.
About noon, 46-year-old Kenneth Frank Velen was booked into Whatcom County Jail by Ferndale Police and charged with suspicion of 1st degree assault.