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Juvenile arrested on weapons charges following Bellingham High graduation ceremony

Firearm and ammo reportedly located on a juvenile by BPD (June 11, 2023). Source: BPD

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) issued a press release Sunday, June 11th, explaining what led up to the arrest and charges against a 17-year-old on Saturday, June 10th, at Civic Field.

According to the press release, 2 BPD officers were assigned to work at the Bellingham High School graduation ceremonies occurring through the day at Civic Field. Shortly after the conclusion of the last ceremony, they were alerted to confrontation in the courtyard area.

They arrived to find an adult and a juvenile yelling at each other. The officers separated the 2. An officer was told the juvenile had “pulled a gun” on the son of the adult twice. The argument broke out when he confronted the juvenile.

The other officer spoke with the juvenile who told the officer he was being wrongfully accused of having a gun.

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The 17-year-old reached into his pocket, at which time the officer took hold of his arm for her safety as well as that of the crowd of high school students and parents around the immediate area. She attempted to frisk the 17-year-old, but he pulled away right as the officer could feel the butt of a gun in his waistband.

The 17-year-old refused to comply with the officer’s instructions, she was not able to de-escalate the situation as the male resisted against her, there was what felt like a gun in the waistband of the male, and he was making movements as if to reach for the gun and flee, so there was a need to take him to the ground for everyone’s safety, including his. The officer took the 17-year-old to the ground, calling for assistance just prior, and then kept him on the ground until the other officer arrived for assistance to take him into custody safely. Bellingham Police Department (June 11, 2023)

The officers reportedly recovered a firearm from the juvenile’s pants, after it had slipped from the waistband down to his knee. The 9mm firearm had a fully loaded magazine and a round in the chamber.

The press release said that further investigation revealed that after the adult confronted the juvenile, he lifted his shirt, displaying the firearm. He then put his hand on the firearm as if to draw it and told the adult “I’m going to cap your ass right here right now.” The adult yelled back which attracted the attention of others, who then alerted the police officers.

The 17-year-old was booked into the Whatcom County Juvenile Detention Facility and charged with the following.

  • Felony harassment
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm by person under the age of 18
  • Carry, exhibit, display, or draw a weapon capable of producing bodily harm
  • Obstructing a law enforcement officer
  • Possessing a dangerous weapon on school facilities (the facility which was being used exclusively by Bellingham public schools for the graduation ceremonies)

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