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Man pleads guilty to threatening to shoot deputy, other charges

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bruce William Duke, age 57, pled guilty to 2 felony counts of harassment, gross misdemeanor obstructing a police officer and misdemeanor resisting arrest in Whatcom County Superior Court last month.

Charges followed an incident when 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 Duke who had 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, identified as Duke, 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, Duke began digging in his pockets and told deputies he had a gun and “Back off now or I’m going to shoot you.”

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

The affidavit said WCSO deputies were joined by Bellingham Police officers to set up a perimeter around the wooded area where Duke 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 Duke into custody.

Duke has been sentenced to 55 months each for the 2 felony charges, 364 days for the gross misdemeanor charge and 90 days for the misdemeanor charge, all to be served concurrently.

As part of the plea deal with prosecutors, charges of harassment with threats to kill or do bodily injury and a failure to register as a sexual offender in other cases were dropped. Duke agreed to also plead guilty to 2nd degree theft, 2nd degree burglary, theft of a motor vehicle, attempting to elude a police vehicle and a community custody violation in other pending cases going back to 2019 in Whatcom County Superior Court. All custody sentencing to be served concurrently with 55 months (4.6 years) being the longest sentence and with credit for time served.

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