Bellingham Police and Whatcom County Sheriff's Detectives are investigating the death of a 49-year-old male shortly after midnight this morning.
Bellingham Police responded to a 911 call for assistance at the Drop In Center located at 1013 W. Holly Street. Initial information gathered was that there was a male, possibly under the influence of a drug, acting paranoid and exhibiting unstable behavior.
Preliminary review of the Officer's body cameras shows the individual was having a mental health/drug episode but was responding to the Officer's use of verbal and de-escalation skills to safely take him into custody. Once in custody, however, he became unresponsive, and even though he was attended to by officers and on-scene medics, he died shortly after arriving at the hospital. The medical examiner's investigation will ultimately determine the cause of the individual's death. An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, March 20. Investigators are currently working to positively identify the male.
“The loss of life is always tragic,” said Bellingham Police Chief David Doll. “Our condolences will go out to the family once next of kin are identified.”
The Whatcom County Sheriff's Office is assisting with the investigation, as it is routine practice to include outside investigators when an in-custody death is involved. Body worn camera footage will be released when the male's name is released.