BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) officers were dispatched to Squalicum Creek Park in Bellingham about 1:05pm on Wednesday, March 30th, after park visitor called What-Comm 911 and reported being chased by a male with scissors.
BPD Spokesperson Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told Whatcom News via email that 2 adults and their 8-month-old baby were walking in the park when a stranger approached them and asked for money. After they told him they did not have any, the stranger pulled out what appeared to them to be a large pair of scissors and pointed it at them while yelling threats at them, including “I am not homeless! I will stab you! I am a Marine! I will rape you and your wife! You better run! This is my park!”
The adults both feared for their lives and were convinced the stranger would stab them, so they ran from the area with the baby stroller. The stranger chased them with the scissors out. They tried to get to their car, but the stranger prevented them from doing that, so they ran to the street to get help. There they encountered a male who said he was armed and would keep them safe from any further attacks.
Soon after, the stranger ran south towards the creek and into a business at a nearby business park.
Murphy said the officers were aware the man was a grave risk to the community and now anyone in the business office and they quickly developed a plan to take him into custody. They parked outside, having created distance and an ability for cover from any attack and started issuing verbal commands to the man inside the business. When that did not work, they approached with less lethal weapon options available and knocked on the glass. The man did not initially respond but was getting agitated inside the business. Fearing for the safety of people in the business, officers entered, ordering the man to the ground and he failed to comply. Officers then took physical control of the man by pinning him against the counter to minimize his movements and ability use the knife. He was taken into custody without further incident.
A witness reported seeing the man chasing 2 other adults with children out of the park while yelling at them as well. These victims had already left and were not contacted by police.
The man, identified as James Leroy Solvey, age 49, was arrested and, after getting medical clearance from PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center for an unrelated injury, was booked into Whatcom County Jail charged with suspicion of felony harassment.
As of April 2nd, Solvey remained in custody pending being able to post a $30,000 appearance bond. Bail was set during a preliminary appearance on March 31st. An arraignment hearing does not appear to have yet been scheduled according to currently available court records.