Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) deputies responded to a shots fired call in the 3000
block of Green Valley Drive on 2-10-22. Joel B. Young, 60, Maple Falls, was shooting his shotgun in the air at neighbors and then opened fire on the two responding deputies, injuring both with shots to the head. YOUNG surrendered within two hours and was arrested for two counts of attempted murder in the first degree.
Members of the Bellingham Police Department SWAT team were involved in the incident response. The criminal investigation is being conducted by members of the Law Enforcement Mutual Aid Response Team (LEMART), led by Bellingham Police Department, in coordination with the Whatcom County Prosecutor’s Office. LEMART is a multi-jurisdictional investigation team used to investigate officer involved shootings, as well as other large scale, complicated investigations in Whatcom County.
On 2-10-22, at approximately 4:17 p.m., WCSO deputies were dispatched to the area of the 3000 block of Green Valley Drive in Maple falls for a shots fired call. 9-1-1 received calls of a neighbor outside shooting his 12-gauge shotgun into the air. Additional callers to 9-1-1 gave specific address information and two people were shooting at each other from different houses.
Deputies arrived on scene and at approximately 4:40 p.m., said the suspect, later identified as YOUNG, was yelling at them, and waving a shotgun around. Shortly after, WCSO Deputies on scene had developed probable cause for felony harassment. They also noted YOUNG appeared to be intoxicated by his speech and actions.
The subsequent investigation revealed the following events. YOUNG was at home around 3 p.m. and having drinks when a neighbor started to burn a garbage pile. Smoke filled YOUNG’S house which enraged him. He went outside to yell at the neighbor to put out the fire, was told to “F— off” which further enraged him. YOUNG went back to his house, retrieved a shotgun – loaded with birdshot, and fired a round into the air toward the neighbor. YOUNG went back into his house and had a beer.
Shortly after YOUNG heard someone yelling “Sheriff.” He looked out and saw someone crouching by the neighbor’s garage and went outside. The two deputies were by the garage and yelled at YOUNG “Sheriff’s Office – drop the gun!” YOUNG yells at the deputies and then fires directly on the deputies. The first deputy is immediately hit in the head and dropped to the ground. The second deputy steps forward and returns fire to protect the deputy who had already been shot.
YOUNG returns fire and strikes the second deputy, who immediately retreats to cover. An unknown civilian stepped forward, fires multiple handgun rounds at YOUNG to protect the deputies. Both WCSO deputies are pulled to safety in a garage and where first aid was rendered, and they waited for additional deputies to arrive.
Further deputies and member of the WCSO Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team arrived, surround the residence and at 6:06 p.m., YOUNG came out of the house and surrendered without incident. He was taken into custody and transported to the Bellingham Police station. Members of the Bellingham Police Department SWAT team responded and took over the scene awaiting a search warrant for the house to clear and secure it for BPD Crime Scene Investigators (CSI.)
The WCSO deputies were transported to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center for their injuries. They both remain hospitalized, in stable condition, with injuries from gunshot wounds to their heads.
“We are ever so grateful the WCSO deputies are in stable condition and that no residents were injured,” said Bellingham Police Chief Flo Simon. “The members of the LEMART team are working tirelessly to ensure there is a thorough and complete investigation delivered to the prosecutor’s office. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the WCSO deputies, their families, and the entire Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office. We wish them a speedy recovery.”
YOUNG was arrested for two counts of attempted murder in the first degree and booked into the Skagit County Jail.
If you have any information helpful to this investigation, please contact BPD in one of the following ways:
Confidential phone tip line: 360-778-8611
Email tip line: www.cob.org/tips
Detective Hauri: 360-778-8791