Woman hit by stray bullet at Ferndale barbecue dies

FERNDALE, Wash. (AP) - Deputies say two Whatcom County men who were shooting guns along the Nooksak River Sunday afternoon inadvertently shot and killed a Ferndale woman while she was attending a family barbeque more than a half mile away.

The 23-year-old Bellingham woman was at a Father's Day barbecue in the 6100 block of Gadwa Road when she was shot in the chest just before 4:30 p.m., according to Whatcom County deputies.

Deputies say a resident called 911 Sunday afternoon to report bullets were whizzing overhead. Then he called back saying his daughter had been hit in the chest.

The victim was taken to St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham, where she died Monday morning.

Deputies heard the gunfire and traced the shots to a group of five people on the other side of the Nooksack River. They had been shooting handguns and high-powered rifles.

Two members of the group, 40-year-old Douglas Quiding and 23-year-old Robert Lee, were arrested for unlawful possession of a firearm. Both men have been convicted of felonies in the past.

Lee was held overnight and released Monday night. He wouldn't comment on the shooting, but said he was just trying to enjoy Father's Day with his friends and daughter.

Deputies do not believe the group shooting guns had any contact with the victim or anyone else attending the barbeque. The investigation is ongoing.