BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) Spokesperson Lieutenant Claudia Murphy provided Whatcom News with the following details regarding an incident that occurred about 9:30pm yesterday, Tuesday, May 24th, in a retail center parking lot near the intersection of Barkley Boulevard and Woburn Street.
Murphy said BPD officers were dispatched about 9:20pm due to a report of a male passed out in the driver’s seat of a silver Honda Civic in the parking lot at 2900 Woburn Street. A passerby was concerned for the welfare of the driver, as he was seen with something dangling from his mouth and burned foil in his lap. Murphy said training and experience in narcotic investigations see that as indicative of drug use, primarily fentanyl. A check of the license plate revealed the Honda had been reported stolen from a Bellingham address on May 20th, which was confirmed to be the case.
In preparing to approach the driver, who still appeared to be passed out, BPD officers positioned their marked patrol cars to prevent the driver from fleeing. They then activated their emergency lights and called out to the driver.
An officer at the scene recognized the driver as Sean Francis Gilmore, age 32, and called him by name and told him he was under arrest for being in possession of a stolen vehicle.
Gilmore awoke and, rather than comply with directions given by the officers, attempted drive the car forward. This resulted in ramming into a BPD patrol car and a private unoccupied Toyota Camry.
Gilmore continued to attempt to drive away, causing the Honda’s tires to spin at a high rate of speed. Officers saw this action as dangerous and reckless since there were people walking to and from nearby stores and it appeared likely Gilmore was under the influence of a narcotic, so driving away would endanger the public further.
Officers made the decision to break out the back window of the vehicle using a drag stabilized baton deployed from a less lethal platform. This likely produced the shots fired sounds witnesses reported and reacted to according to Murphy. This also had the desired effect of getting Gilmore to stop attempting to flee in the vehicle. He then got out and attempted to flee on foot.
Gilmore fled on foot toward Newmarket Street with BPD officers in foot pursuit. He ran into a parking lot and stopped. Officers were able to get him to the ground, cuffed and took him into custody safely.
After being checked and medically cleared by medics, Gilmore was booked into Whatcom County Jail charged with suspicion of the following crimes.
- hit and run of an attended vehicle
- attempting to elude a police vehicle
- 2nd degree malicious mischief
- 2 counts of possession of a stolen vehicle
- 3rd degree possession of stolen property
- resisting arrest
He was also arrested under an active warrant out of Bellingham Municipal Court for hit and run of an attended vehicle. This charge carries a $20,100 bail requirement.
Gilmore was scheduled to make a preliminary appearance in Whatcom County Superior Court today, May 25th, and according to jail records he remains in custody without the option for bail under the newest charges.