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Suspect charged with murder, Bellingham double shooting details released

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Bellingham Police Department (BPD) report they arrested Matthew J Roberts, age 28 and of Eugene, Oregon, and booked him into Whatcom County Jail yesterday, October 22nd, charged with suspicion of 2nd degree murder in connection with a recent fatal shooting incident.

According to an email from BPD Lieutenant Claudia Murphy yesterday to Whatcom News, 911 call receivers got a call on Sunday, October 16th at 3:18am with the caller stating he had been shot and needed help. They were able to determine the caller’s location to be in the 2300 block of Valencia. Officers arrived and found the male, now known to be Roberts, shot and not coherent, and immediately began life saving measures. Roberts was transported to PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center for treatment.

At the scene, a BPD officer found 2 zip lock style bags of white powder next to where Roberts had been lying. A third zip lock style bag with approximately 1000 blue pills and a red Philadelphia Phillies hat were next to the other 2 bags. Officers also found a loaded handgun magazine several feet away from Roberts in the alley. BPD investigating offices also found a .40 caliber handgun, missing its magazine, near a grassy area outside of a building in the 2000 block of Texas Street. A blood trail was found and led to a apartment in the complex. Nearby officers found a counterfeit $100 bill which had been torn into several pieces.

While the initial officers were investigating the scenes on Valencia and Texas Streets, PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center personnel called 911 to report that a man had been brought by a private car to their emergency department with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was identified as as a 31-year-old Bellingham man who died of his injuries at the hospital shortly after arriving.

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Though interviews and evidence gathering, investigators were able to determine that the victim had visited the apartment in the 2000 block of Texas Street wanting a phone and walked out when he could not get it. Shortly after that, people in the apartment could hear gunshots and the victim returned with the gunshot wound and needing help. He was driven to the hospital.

Investigators were also able to determine that a black Range Rover met with a Toyota Prius with Oregon plates in the 2400 block of Alabama Street. A male wearing black pants, red T-shirt with a design, a Dickies button up shirt and a Phillies hat (matching exactly the clothing Roberts was found wearing) got out of the Toyota and into the Range Rover. The Range Rover was seen driving toward the Texas and Valencia Streets area just prior to the shooting.

The .38 caliber revolver had one spent shell casing and was found underneath Roberts at the scene of the shooting. The revolver was used by Roberts to shoot the victim. The .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun was missing one bullet from the magazine, and both handgun and magazine were found on the path the victim used to run to the apartment to get help. The .40 caliber Smith and Wesson was used to shoot Roberts.

The 2 bags of white powder and bag of blue pills were found with Roberts. The bags with the white powder weighed approximately 47.7 and 48.8 grams each and a sample from both field tested positive for the presence of cocaine. The 1000 blue pills found in the third bag are consistent with those commonly sold on the street as “blues” and are non-pharmaceutical grade pills laced with fentanyl. A sample of these pills field tested positive for the presence of fentanyl. 

Murphy said BPD had established probable cause to also arrest Roberts for drive-by shooting and 3 counts of possession of a controlled substance with intent to deliver.

After receiving treatment for his injuries at PeaceHealth St Joseph Medical Center, Roberts was booked into the Whatcom County Jail and has been charged with 2nd degree murder with intent to cause death with no premeditation in Whatcom County Superior Court.

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