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Man flees traffic stop on foot – threatens to shoot deputy

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputy pulled a car over on W Bakerview Road about 9:15pm on September 30th. The car’s ownership records came back to a man with outstanding arrest warrants for multiple counts of driving while his license was suspended.

According to an affidavit of probable cause prepared by the WCSO and submitted to Whatcom County Superior Court, when deputies approached the stopped vehicle, the driver got out and began walking away, ignoring deputies’ telling him he was under arrest and commands to stop. He soon began running away.

At one point the man began digging in his pockets and told deputies he had a gun and “Back off now or I’m going to shoot you.”

According to unconfirmed law enforcement radio transmissions at the time, the man fled into a nearby wooded area.

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The affidavit of probable cause said WCSO deputies were joined by Bellingham Police officers to set up a perimeter around the wooded area where the man could be heard “attempting to break through the thick brush to get away.”

A Bellingham Police K9 unit responded and were able to locate and take the man into custody.

The man, identified as Bruce William Duke, age 57, was booked into Whatcom County Jail and now faces 2 counts of harassment with threats to kill or do bodily injury and 1 count of obstructing a law enforcement officer in Superior Court in addition to the existing charges of driving while his license was suspended in Whatcom County District Court.

At the time of his arrest, Duke was out of custody after posting appearance bonds while awaiting trial in multiple Whatcom County Superior Court cases dating back to 2019 for felony charges including harassment with threats to kill or do bodily injury, attempting to elude a police vehicle, theft, stolen property trafficking, and residential burglary. Duke pled guilty to 2 counts of felony theft in 2017 and was sentenced to 22 months in custody. At that time, he had 7 prior felony convictions dating back to 1993.

As of October 6th, Duke remained in custody pending being able to post a $30,000 bond or $3,000 cash.

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