On February 19, 2023, at 2:30 p.m., Kelton T. Lane, 27, of Bellingham pointed a gun at several people, including a Bellingham Police Officer, in a busy parking lot in the 4300 block of Meridian Street. BPD officers tried to stop Lane, but he hid and moved between cars attempting to flee. They continued to pursue him on foot and took him into custody after using less lethal munitions to stop his flight and safely take him into custody. He was arrested for multiple charges including attempted robbery, assault, and obstructing.
Officers received a call earlier in the day about Lane walking around the parking lot near TJ MAXX, carrying a gun in his pocket. Lane stole merchandise from TJ MAXX but fled before officers could contact him.
At 2:30 p.m., more calls came into 911 about Lane brandishing the handgun in the air and at people in passing cars. Officers got there and tried to stop Lane, telling him to put his hands up, however he fled rather than comply. Lane was running toward the stores in a heavily used parking lot armed with what appeared to be a handgun. Officers pursued him on foot and in police cars.
At one point, Lane ran up to an occupied truck and pointed the handgun directly at the driver. The driver, frightened for his life and believing he was about to be robbed of his truck, sped off to flag down police. One of the first officers into the area turned a corner and Lane was facing the officer’s car with his arm locked out, aiming the firearm directly at the officer. Lane began running and hiding between parked cars. Officers pursued him on foot and when able deescalated this situation using a less lethal system to deploy drag stabilized flexible batons at Lane and striking him. This had the desired effect of Lane dropping the gun, getting on the ground, and complying with commands.
Lane was taken into custody without further incident and taken to the hospital for treatment as one of the flexible batons re-injured a pre-existing wound he incurred from a previous incident with a different law enforcement agency. Lane was booked into the Whatcom County Jail for attempted robbery 1st degree, assault 2nd (two counts,) and obstructing law enforcement. He is being held without bail.
The weapon recovered during this incident was a realistic looking Sig Sauer airsoft gun.
“I am incredibly proud of how our officers responded to this frightening incident in a crowded shopping mall parking lot. Several residents and one of our officers had what they perceived at the time a real gun pointed at them, creating a chaotic, rapidly evolving situation,” said Chief Rebecca Mertzig, commenting on this incident. “The officers on scene handled themselves with the utmost professionalism, exercising due care and caution to arrest Mr. Lane swiftly and decisively, ensuring he quickly received the proper medical care. I cannot say enough about the quality training our officers receive and their dedication to the safety of our community.”