Whatcom County, WA – Two Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office Deputies lives were saved by heroic military veterans who came to their aid after they were shot whilst responding to a 911 call.
The military veterans – who live in the street where the 911 call was made – retrieved their guns and returned fire towards the shooting so that the two wounded deputies could be dragged to a safety.
Once the deputies were dragged to safety, the military veterans administered first aid until backup arrived.
According to the Bellingham Police Department, the incident unfolded on 10th February late in the afternoon.
Police said that the shooting suspect, Joel Berck Young, 60, became ‘agitated’ when a neighbour started to burn some brush around at around 15:00 hours local time.
Young claimed that smoke was going into his home via the windows.
The Bellingham Herald reported that Young and his neighbour got into a verbal argument.
According to a report by local media, Young had been drinking and became infuriated to the point that he went inside and grabbed his 12-gauge shotgun.
It has been reported that Young then went back outside and fired his gun into the air near where his neighbour was burning the brush.
According to a report by The Bellingham Herald, Young then went back inside his home and carried on drinking beer.
Hearing the gunshots, another neighbour called 911 to report it. Two Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office deputies responded to the scene.
After the deputies arrived at Young’s home, he came out screaming whilst his gun.
The deputies ordered Young to drop his gun, but the suspect allegedly responded by shooting both law enforcement officers.
One deputy was shot in the head. The second deputy went in front of his colleague to shield him from the gunfire, but was also wounded.
At this point, KING5 News reported that two good Samaritans, who happened to be military veterans, got their own guns and then fired shots in the direction of the suspect so that the wounded deputies could be removed from the line of fire and tended to until backup arrived.
According to The Bellingham Herald report, one of the veterans fired multiple rounds from a handgun at the suspect so that the deputies were protected.
KING5 identified the two veterans as Jesse Marshall and Cody Deeter, who live down the suspect’s street.
Marshall told local reporters:
“He stepped out, with a gun, being a threat. I’m a veteran. I’ve been to combat. I know how to handle it; it’s not fun.
“And he came out yelling, cussing and stuff.”
Deeter said he shot toward the suspect to prevent him from shooting the deputies as they lay injured:
“When I came around the corner, he was in the doorway and I unloaded. Just to get him to go away so we can get these guys back.”
Deeter also mentioned to KING5 News that he knows one of the deputies who was injured. Speaking about the deputy, Detter said:
“Amazing guy. Super personable. I can’t imagine being his family right now.”
Backup arrived and included several agencies, including a SWAT team that surrounded the suspect’s home.
Neighbours looked after both injured deputies in the garage of an adjacent home.
Both deputies were rushed to a local hospital and are said to be in a stable condition.
The suspect barricaded himself in his home but surrendered to police at around 18:00 hours local time, according to KGMI’s report.
Young was arrested for two counts of attempted 1st Degree Murder.
On Facebook, Sheriff Elfo posted:
“While we are following protocols and awaiting the results of the Bellingham Police Department’s investigation for all details of the attempted murders of our deputies, a few facts have become self-evident and abundantly clear.
“First, despite being seriously wounded and impaired by their injuries, both deputies courageously followed their training, stayed in the fight and took care of each other and area residents.
“Second, we are extraordinarily blessed that several armed citizens came to the deputies assistance at the critical moments when they were most vulnerable.
“I have contacted all three of the good Samaritans and expressed appreciation on behalf of myself and all members of law enforcement and their families.
“There will be a more formal recognition of these humble citizen heroes once more details of their actions can be released.
“I’m incredibly proud of the injured deputies and all members of our organization; our law enforcement partner agencies involved in the response and investigation; our dispatchers upon whom our deputies rely upon as a lifeline; the Whatcom Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for prioritizing this case; the Fire service and Saint Joseph’s Hospital for the provision of extraordinary medical care; Support Officers Community Care for supporting the deputies’ families at this difficult time; and all the citizens who prayed and expressed support.
“Please join me in continued prayers for the full and complete recovery of both deputies and comfort for their families; the protection of all law enforcement officers; and a return to law and order in our state and nation.”
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