BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) Lieutenant Claudia Murphy provided Whatcom News with the following information regarding why there was a large multi-agency law enforcement presence on and around Slater Road east of Haxton Way after 1pm on Monday, October 31st.
According to Murphy, probable cause had been established to arrest the subject, identified as Darian Jovan Polee, age 26 and from Ferndale, for 1st-degree robbery and 3 counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver. These charges stemmed from his suspected involvement in an October 16th fatal shooting incident in Bellingham.
BPD detectives investigating the shooting incident discovered Polee had directed 1 of the shooters to arm himself with a handgun in order to confront an intended robbery victim in order to forcibly rob him of drugs. Polee drove the shooter to the 2300 block of Valencia and then went and picked up their intended robbery victim nearby and drove to the same location.
The intended robbery victim, since identified by police as Matthew Roberts, was in Polee’s vehicle when approached by the other shooter who threatened him with a handgun while demanding his narcotics according to the investigation. Instead of complying, the Roberts pulls his own weapon and shoots him in the chest. Gunfire is exchanged leaving both Roberts and the other shooter wounded.
The other shooter was able to get away and got help, including a ride to the hospital where he was later declared dead.
Roberts was able to call 911 from the scene where he had collapsed in a parking lot. According to Murphy, his injury was life-threatening and required lifesaving medical treatment. Roberts has since been charged with 2nd-degree murder with intent to cause death with no premeditation in Whatcom County Superior Court.
Polee fled the area in his vehicle which he reportedly abandoned in Ferndale.
Polee was seen yesterday, October 31st, about 1pm near the area of Haxton Way and Slater Road. According to law enforcement radio transmissions at the time, he fled law enforcement on foot northbound across Slater Road and into a field.
Murphy said BPD K9 Prowl and his partner, along with a Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office K9 team, tracked Polee in the area and located him waist deep, without shoes, in a manure bog. He initially refused to acknowledge verbal commands to come out. But as officers were developing a plan to reach him, Polee responded and crawled to the bank of the bog and was arrested.
Whatcom County Fire District 7 Assistant Fire Chief Justin Iverson told Whatcom News emergency medical aid crews treated the man for hypothermia and transported him to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center shortly after 3pm with non-life-threatening injuries under basic life support (BLS) protocol.
Polee was later medically cleared at the hospital and taken to Whatcom County Jail where he was booked about 5:35pm. He is charged with 1st-degree robbery and 3 counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.
As of the morning of November 1st, Polee remained in custody at the jail while awaiting a preliminary hearing in Whatcom County Superior Court.