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More details released about Bellingham residential area drive-by shooting investigation

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police have released additional information regarding an incident involving reports of about 30 shots fired Sunday, August 15th, in the W Maplewood Avenue residential neighborhood.

As originally reported, over 70 people are reported to have called What-Comm 911 shortly after 2am to report hearing shots fired in the 2700 block of W Maplewood Avenue in Bellingham. “The reports indicated witnesses heard about 3 shots followed by about 20 more and that a white SUV was involved,” Bellingham Police Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told Whatcom News via email.

Bellingham Police officers in the area also heard the shots and began checking on foot for any victims, witnesses or evidence. They discovered 27 shell casings along W Maplewood Avenue. These were identified as .300 Blackout rounds that are typically shot from a rifle and are not commonly used.

Officers also noticed a newer white Dodge Durango at a nearby apartment complex. A man was getting out of the passenger side front door and when asked told officers he had not been driving but just came to the vehicle to get cigarettes. After the man left, officers determined the car’s engine was warm.

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Other officers contacted an area resident with a security camera and reviewed a video recording of the time of the shots fired reports. They were able to hear 3 shots followed by approximately 27 more shots. After the shots were fired, a white newer Dodge Durango drives past.

The officers who were with the Dodge observed a pistol sticking out of the center console and identified .300 Blackout rounds also in the center console. A spent casing was seen on the passenger seat.

As the officers were preparing to seize the Dodge as evidence, the man came out of the apartment with keys to the Dodge in hand.

The man, identified as Guillermo Vieyra-Salas, age 21, was arrested and found to be in possession of 25 grams of cocaine. The Dodge was seized as evidence.

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No injuries were reported as a result of the shooting.

Today, August 20th, Murphy said via email that a search warrant was applied for, granted and served yesterday on the Dodge Durango which had already been seized as evidence. Detectives, officers and crime scene investigators served the search warrant and items located inside the Durango included the following.

  • A Noveske short-barreled rifle chambered for .300 Blackout and reported to have been stolen in a Sedro Woolley burglary
  • A Smith and Wesson pistol – what the officers saw sticking out of the center console the night of the drive-by shooting
  • Several rounds of .300 Blackout ammunition and a spent casing
  • 3 45-round magazines, preloaded with .300 Blackout ammunition
  • 3 30-round magazines, preloaded with .300 Blackout ammunition

Due to having pled guilty to felony 3rd degree assault in a previous case, Vieyra-Salas may not lawfully own, use or possess any firearm.

As a result of the search and Vieyra-Salas’ prior felony conviction, he has been charged with suspicion of possession of a stolen firearm and unlawful possession of a firearm in addition to the prior charge of suspicion of drive-by shooting.

Vieyra-Salas remains in custody at Whatcom County Jail pending being able to post $400,000 bail.

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