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Shots fired reports in Bellingham bring large police presence, 1 arrested for assault

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Today, Wednesday, November 1st, about 3:30pm, Bellingham Police Department (BPD) officers were dispatched due to several callers to What-Comm 911 reporting of hearing shots fired in the 2700 block of W Maplewood Avenue in Bellingham.

BPD Lieutenant Claudia Murphy told Whatcom News via email that an investigation into the reports resulted in the arrest of Thomas Edward Paine, age 60, due to the following.

Victim 1 and PAINE were visiting in PAINE’s apartment, having a drink. Victim 1 explained that, unprovoked, PAINE jumped up and started punching Victim 1 in the face with his fists. Victim 1 was able to separate from PAINE and realized he has a bloody nose. 

Victim 1 retreated to his apartment to change his bloody shirt, when moments later there was a knock on the door. Victim 1 heard PAINE yelling at him through the door. Victim 1 opened the door and saw PAINE standing at the bottom of the stairs with a handgun pointed at Victim 1. PAINE then fired a single shot at Victim 1, missing him. The round went through the apartment door. 

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Victim 1 armed himself with his handgun and noted PAINE still at the bottom of the stairs and still aiming his handgun at Victim 1. At this time, Victim 1 fired a single shot at PAINE, missing him. 

PAINE fled to his apartment, changed into a Batman costume, and fled the scene. PAINE’s flight led him directly to BPD officers on perimeter, where he contacted them. 

Further investigation by Bellingham Police Crime Scene Investigators and Detectives revealed a bloody handgun in PAINE’s apartment. PAINE sustained a laceration, unrelated to the gunfire, and was taken to the hospital for medical care. 

Paine was arrested and booked into the Whatcom County Jail charged with suspicion of 2nd-degree assault and 4th-degree assault.

During the BPD assessment and investigation of the shots fired reports, nearby Shuksan Middle School was put under a secure action whereby all exterior doors were locked and no one was allowed to enter or leave the building until an all-clear was received about 4:10pm.

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