Police: Officer fatally shoots knife-wielding man in Bellingham

Photo: Dillon Honcoop

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - A man who police say had stabbed another man was fatally shot by a Bellingham Police officer Sunday afternoon.

Witnesses called 911 at 4:20 p.m. for a report of a fight in the 100 block of East Holly Street, and then seeing a man stab another man in the neck, according to Lt. Danette Beckley with Bellingham Police.

Those witnesses were still on the phone with 911, following the stabbing suspect and relaying his position as he made his way to a transit terminal in the 1400 block of Railroad Avenue.

Officers caught up with the man there, and found he was still armed with a knife, Beckley said.

Matthew Shaeffer witnessed the stabbing and the shooting.

"The police officers engaged him and asked him repeatedly, 'put the knife down! Put the knife down!' " Shaeffer said. "The next thing I know, he lunged at the police officers, moved the knife. It looked like he had cut one of them. And they shot him three times and he was dead before he hit the ground."

The man who had been stabbed in the neck was rushed to St. Joseph's Hospital where a hospital spokesperson said he was originally listed in critical condition. He was said to be stabilized Monday. Witnesses described him as a "Good Samaritan" -- that he had stepped in to stop a fight between the man and another woman.

"He was just trying to help (a) girl out," Shaeffer said.

The officer who fired the fatal shots has been placed on administrative leave as is standard procedure. The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office and multiple other agencies are investigating.

Medical Bag stolen from scene

During the chaos of the stabbing and shooting, Bellingham police say woman at the scene of the stabbing helped herself to stealing one of the medical bags used by Bellingham Fire while they were treating the stabbing victim. Police ask to give them a call if you recognize this woman:

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