WHATCOM — A man was arrested at the Silver Lake Park entrance north of Maple Falls on Tuesday, June 4, after he reportedly carried an AK47-style rifle and frightened people along Silver Lake Road with it.
The suspect was identified by the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office as 31-year-old Nicholas Burns of Bellingham. He was booked into Whatcom County Jail on investigation of first-degree assault, unlawful possession of a firearm, and vehicle prowling.
A records check at the time of arrest showed that Burns is ineligible to possess firearms. He was also out of bond/pretrial release for two felonies including delivery of a controlled substance and possession of a stolen firearm, said Sheriff Bill Elfo in a press release.
“This incident had the potential to end very badly,” Elfo said. “Our deputies train for incidents like this and I am proud that were able to resolve it without injury to anyone.”
This is the account given by the sheriff’s office:
At about 6:45 a.m. that day, a report came in of a male subject with an AK47-style rifle who had confronted a homeowner in the 9500 block of Silver Lake Road. The homeowner said he had seen the man, dressed in camouflage, enter an unlocked vehicle parked in the property owner’s driveway. When confronted, the subject noted the rifle strapped to his chest and yelled at the homeowner to “watch out.” The man then walked away down the driveway toward Silver Lake Road.
A short time later, a second person called 911 to report that he had encountered a subject with a rifle while traveling on Silver Lake Road. The motorist indicated that the subject was standing in the middle of the road with the rifle pointed at the passing vehicle and motioning for the driver to stop. The motorist instead accelerated around the subject in an attempt to get away. The driver told deputies that the suspect brought the rifle up in a shooter’s stance and pointed it at the vehicle as it went away southbound.
Deputies located the man near the entrance to Silver Lake Park. The suspect was still in possession of the rifle slung over his shoulder. The suspect initially refused to comply and started to walk away, but then placed the rifle on the ground and walked toward deputies. The suspect was taken into custody without further incident.