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Man receives self-inflicted gunshot wound while walking down Bellingham hotel hallway

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — First responders were dispatched to a report of person with a gunshot wound to their leg at a hotel in the 3700 block of Meridian Street about 1am on Saturday, January 8th.

According to an email from Bellingham Police Department Lieutenant Claudia Murphy, it was determined from security video the wound occurred while the person was walking in the hotel hallway while carrying a backpack. The person could be seen collapsing in the motel hallway and an employee rushing to them and helping by putting the backpack in 1 of the hotel rooms. The injured person could be seen “scooting” into the hotel room and then returning to the hallway. Medics arrived and transported the injured person to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center.

BPD officers arrived, reviewed the security video and identified the injured person as Dustin Tyler Owen, age 34 and a convicted felon with probable cause for his arrest stemming from an incident on December 7, 2021.

When interviewed, Owens told officers he had accidentally shot himself but “was less than forthcoming about where the gun went.”

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A bag that Owens had with him when transported by medics was opened by BPD officers in their search for the weapon. It contained over $6,000 in cash along with what was later determined to be approximately 3 ounces of suspected cocaine and approximately 5 grams of suspected methamphetamine.

Officers served a search warrant for the hotel room Owen had been seen entering and they found the following items.

  • 2 long rifles
  • 1 compact rifle
  • 1 semi-automatic pistol
  • 1 Colt 45 revolver (determined to have been stolen)
  • A large amount of ammunition
  • Approximately 140 suspected fentanyl pills

The compact rifle, semi-automatic pistol and revolver were found inside the backpack Owen was seen dropping in the hallway after being shot in the leg.

After being treated and released from the hospital, Owen was booked into Whatcom County Jail and charged with suspicion of the following charges.

  • Failure to transfer title within 45 days (from a December 7, 2021, contact with law enforcement
  • Possession of controlled substances with intent to deliver
  • Unlawful possession of a firearm (2 counts) by a convicted felon
  • Possession of a stolen firearm

At the time of this incident, Owen was out of custody after posting $50,000, $20,000 and $2,000 appearance bonds while awaiting trial on felony charges for suspicion of possession of controlled substances and 2nd degree robbery related to arrests in 2020.

Owen has prior felony convictions dating back to 2014 for possession of controlled substances, attempting to elude a police vehicle, possession of a stolen vehicle and 2nd degree assault.


  1. Jen January 11, 2022

    My son was working in the lobby (his 3rd week there) when this happened. He called EMS, did a pressure bandage and a tourniquet. The owner simply came out and said “mop that up when you’re done” and went back to his room! 😡 needless to say, my son quit that night

  2. Gary January 11, 2022

    Back to jail for you, pal.

  3. Eman January 12, 2022

    So many firearms that could have been used to protect our precious freedoms, what a waste…

  4. Eman January 12, 2022

    My old job used too pay extra for each pint of blood we had to mop up. We always wished for more “accidents” around Christmas time lol

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