Victims were from Skagit County, suspect of Bellingham
WHATCOM — A 19-year-old Bellingham man has been arrested in connection with the drug-deal shooting that occurred in Lynden City Park last week.
Lynden Police Chief Steve Taylor said Tuesday that Landon Gudde is being held in Whatcom County Jail and will be charged with two felonies: possession of a controlled substance and criminal conspiracy to commit robbery.
The investigation into the incident is still active, and additional arrests are expected, Taylor said.
Lynden Police officers responded at about 10:40 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 5, to a reported shooting in City Park.
The gunshot victim, with a wound to his right biceps area, was taken by ambulance to a Bellingham hospital and then on to Harborview Hospital in Seattle, Taylor reported in a press release early the next morning.
This was the sequence of events given by Taylor:
Two individuals told responding officers they had driven to Lynden City Park, 8460 Depot Rd., with another man to meet a friend of theirs. Shortly after their arrival at the park, they were approached by two masked men, at least one of whom was armed with a firearm. The masked men began to steal items from the vehicle, at which point the victims ran from the vehicle to escape the assailants. Both reporting individuals said they heard a gunshot as they ran, and then heard their companion yell for them to come back to help him. Upon returning to the vehicle, they saw that their companion had been shot.
The two then drove their injured friend out of the Depot Road park, while one of them called 911. The driver, unfamiliar with Lynden, first spotted the Lynden Fire Station on Fourth
Street and pulled in there to get help. Lynden firefighters summoned police to the scene, and the gunshot victim was taken by ambulance to Bellingham hospital.
Subsequent investigation determined that the three individuals who came to the park, two males and one female, including the 31-year-old male who was shot, were all from Skagit County.
“(They) made arrangements to meet a Bellingham man who had agreed to purchase narcotics from them,” said Taylor by email. “Upon arrival at the Lynden park, two other Bellingham men, who had accompanied the original Bellingham man to the meeting, robbed the three from Skagit County. At some point during the robbery, the 31-year-old victim was shot. He is recovering at Harborview Hospital.”
This appears to be “an isolated incident involving a drug transaction that went bad,” the chief said.
Lynden City Park was apparently selected as the place because one of the Bellingham men who participated in the transaction had formerly lived in Lynden and was familiar with the park. “I do not feel that there is any ongoing threat to the peace and safety of our citizens and visitors who choose to spend time at any of Lynden’s parks,” Taylor said.
Lynden was assisted at the scene by the city fire department, Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office and Washington State Patrol.