DUI driver flees from law enforcement; uses axe to strike patrol car trying to hit officers

Crashes into Bellis Fair Mall and flees on foot before capture

March 13, 2022 - by Claudia Murphy, BPD PIO

David A. Anderson, 32, Bellingham, attempted to elude Washington State Patrol (WSP) Troopers and Bellingham Police Officers (BPD) officers after being suspected of driving under the influence. After a 9-mile pursuit, an assault on three officers with an axe while driving, damage to a patrol car and striking an innocent driver, Anderson crashed his car into the front doors of Bellis Fair Mall.  He fled on foot and was taken into custody after damaging multiple stores inside with the hatchet.  He was arrested on 9 charges and taken to the hospital for a medical evaluation.


On March 12, 2022, at approximately 10:30 p.m., BPD officers were asked to assist a WSP trooper in stopping a Ford Ranger for erratic driving and suspicion of driving under the influence (DUI.)  The trooper requested assistance and a BPD shift supervisor granted the request as the driver was attempting to elude.  The subsequent pursuit was authorized and monitored by the BPD shift supervisor, in accordance with the law.

Anderson, the driver of the Ranger, was refusing to stop in the 1300 block of W. Bakerview Rd and is where two BPD officers activated the emergency lights of their BPD patrol SUVs to assist WSP.  Anderson did not stop for the officers and drove east on W. Bakerview Rd to Northwest, then making an illegal U-turn and heading east on W. Bakerview Rd.

Anderson ran a red light at Cordata and headed south on Meridian, dangerously passing a car.  He continued running red lights as he drove to Girard Street and led officers through several streets in the City Hall/Library complex, where he routinely did not stop at stop signs.  A BPD officer in his car (with emergency lights on) was stopped on Cornwall near E. Champion.  Anderson drove close to the patrol car, slowed down, and swung a large axe clearly trying to hit the officer in the driver’s seat.  Anderson struck the patrol SUV several times, narrowly missing the officer, who drove away quickly.

Anderson headed north on Cornwall, U-turning quickly, driving directly into the path of the pursuing officers.  He drove directly into the path of the officers, swinging his axe out the window attempting to strike both officers with it. 

Anderson continued to flee on Cornwall to York Streets, where a BPD officer was laying a tire deflation system.  Anderson barely missed striking the patrol SUV to avoid the spike strips.  He continued to Lakeway from Ellis Street, where he struck an innocent motorist’s car causing damage.  Anderson kept driving and headed north on I5 and got off at the Bellis Fair Mall exit.  He drove into the parking lot and directly and intentionally into the front doors of the food court at the mall, causing extensive damage.

Anderson got out of his truck, armed with his axe, and fled on foot into the mall.  He aggressively swung the axe at the glass doors and gained entry.  He ran into the mall where he started smashing glass doors, windows, and accessories to several stores, restaurants, and businesses inside.


With officers following Anderson telling him he was under arrest and to drop the axe, he continued his rampage of damage in the mall.  He refused to drop the axe or comply with any of the officers’ commands. Officers continued their attempt to deescalate the situation verbally. In addition they used several less lethal force options, including impact munitions (flexible batons,) chemical irritants and taser applications.  None seemed to have the desired effect initially.  Eventually Anderson dropped the axe and officers were able to over come his physical resistance and handcuff him. He was moved outside for medical attention for the minor injuries he sustained. 

During this medial assessment by members of the Bellingham Fire Department, Anderson kicked a gurney at one of the firefighters.  The gurney hit the firefighter in the knee, knocking him backward and causing pain.  Anderson was transported to the hospital for treatment for minor injuries and monitoring for suspected substance abuse.

Anderson caused significant damage to 11+ stores, businesses and restaurants belonging to Bellis Fair Mall. He also destroyed the entry way to the mall’s food court.  The initial damage estimates are $100,000 for the mall alone.

Anderson put countless residents and all the officers at serious risk of harm, and it is clear he is an imminent danger to the community.  He narrowly missed striking three BPD officers with an axe which could have caused death or serious bodily harm, caused thousands of dollars of damage to a patrol car, nearly struck several officers head on with his truck, drove recklessly and likely under the influence while eluding officers, assaulted a Bellingham Firefighter, struck an occupied car, and burglarized Bellis Fair Mall all while armed with a deadly weapon.


Anderson will be booked into the Whatcom County Jail, when medically cleared, for the following charges: burglary 1st degree, assault 1st degree (three counts,) assault 3rd degree, malicious mischief 1st degree, malicious mischief 2nd degree, attempting to elude police vehicle, hit and run (attended with damage,) resisting arrest, and tampering with a fire alarm. 

Media Contact

Claudia Murphy, Lieutenant
Bellingham Police Department
(360)778-8824 (d), (360)815-2701 (c)

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