BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told Whatcom News they are looking for anyone who heard or saw the shots being fired during Sunday morning’s drive-by shooting incident.
Murphy said BPD officers heard gunshots coming from an area near the intersection of Railroad Avenue and E Holly Street about 1:35am on Sunday, November 6th, and responded.
The first officer responding to the scene saw a gray sedan with a brightly colored air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror, quickly leave the area by driving on W. Holly St. toward Cornwall Ave. The officer also saw the driver was wearing a bright shirt and noted bullets and casings on the ground where the gray sedan was parked. There was a can of Truly (an alcoholic seltzer drink) near the spot where the gray sedan was parked. BPD CSIs roped off the parking lot and began investigating the scene. Bellingham Police Department Lieutenant Claudia Murphy (November 6, 2022)
A gray passenger vehicle was seen by other officers as it headed away from the area of the shots. The vehicle was eventually stopped in the 1900 block of King Street and a “high-risk traffic stop” conducted due to the likelihood that the driver, passenger or both had recently fired weapons.
The driver, identified by Murphy as Samuel Vasquez-Ventura, age 20 and of Everson, was wearing a bright red shirt and the car, an Acura, had a pink air freshener hanging from the rear-view mirror. A box of Truly (same flavor/color of cans as the one found at the scene) was found in the car. A passenger in the Acura wearing a yellow shirt was identified as Lucas William Galan, age 20 and of Everson.
Officers were able to see 2 firearms in plain sight inside the vehicle and identified 1 to be a 9mm which matched the caliber of bullets and casings found at the scene.
Surveillance videos from cameras in the 1300 block of Railroad Avenue showed a male in a light-colored shirt, identified as Galan, arguing with a person or persons off-camera. The male is then seen pointing a handgun and firing multiple rounds toward the street from a mid-block parking lot. Another male in a red shirt, identified as Vasquez-Ventura, grabbed the shooter and both went to the Acura and fled.
The Acura was seized and was a search warrant had been applied for to recover the firearms and other evidence related to this case according to Murphy.
According to Whatcom County Jail records, Lucas William Galan and Samuel Vasquez-Ventura were booked into the jail charged with suspicion of drive-by shooting and unlawful possession of firearms. Vasquez-Ventura was also charged with driving under the influence. Murphy said the DUI charge was the result of officers finding Vazquez-Ventura displayed “obvious signs of intoxication” after having driven the Acura.
As of Monday morning, both men remained in custody at the jail pending being able to post $25,000 bonds.
As of late Sunday evening, Murphy said they had not been contacted by any victims and there was no property damage reported as a result of the shooting. Murphy added they “are looking for anyone who heard/saw the shots being fired, including those at whom they may have been directed.”
Anyone with information which may assist detectives in their investigation are asked to contact BPD using either of the following.
Email tip line: www.cob.org/tips
Phone tip line: 360-776-8611