The 49 year old male who died early March 15 has been identified as Robert R. Gagnon. Bellingham Police have no history of contacts with Gagnon prior to March 15. Information discovered during the investigation of Gagnon indicates he spent the majority of his time in Minnesota with past stops in Colorado and Seattle. Next of kin have been notified and the Bellingham Police offered their sincere condolences.
Links to three videos follow. The first two are from the Drop-In Center and the third is from an Officer's body-worn camera. A blurring software has been used to mitigate the graphic nature of this tragic situation, as well as protect the privacy of those involved.
The first video is the interior of the Drop-In Center where initial contact with Gagnon is made. Gagnon is exhibiting signs of a mental/medical crises in which he appears to be suffering from delusions and paranoia. Officers use de-escalation and exemplary verbal skills to get Gagnon into protective custody so that he can be taken to St. Joseph for an evaluation. A double set of handcuffs was used for his comfort and safety.
The second video is the exterior of the Drop-In Center where Gagnon begins to doubt the legitimacy of the Officers and begins to struggle to get away from them, at one point attempting to run into the street. For the safety of Gagnon and the Officers, Gagnon is placed on the sidewalk by the Officers. Gagnon is laid on his side. Based on the apparent needs of the individual, Bellingham Fire Department Medics respond to assist with evaluation and transportation to the hospital.
The third video is the Officer's body-worn camera which includes an audio recording. Warning this video contains graphic language.
“Our Officers displayed exemplary de-escalation skills and compassion” said Bellingham Police Chief David Doll. “I am proud of the job I see them do every day as they work under difficult circumstances to serve all members of our community.”