A Bellingham (WA) officer was barely out of his vehicle when he was forced to bring down the suspect in a stabbing just a few minutes before at almost bad-breath range.
The suspect in a stabbing who was fatally shot by a Bellingham police officer was identified Thursday as Manuel Gonzalez, 28.
Police said that Gonzalez stabbed and wounded a 20-year-old man in the neck during an altercation in the 100 block of E. Holly Street on Sunday and then fled on foot. Witnesses chased him and caught up to him in the 1400 block of Railroad Avenue, police said.
Police said that officer Jeremiah Leland came to the scene and ordered Gonzalez to drop his knife. Police said Gonzalez failed to drop the knife and advanced toward Leland, prompting Leland to shoot him. Gonzalez was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Bellingham Herald reported that an initial autopsy of Gonzalez determined he bled to death from a gunshot wound to the neck.
Police said Gonzalez had a history of minor criminal offenses.
The 20-year-old man who was stabbed remains in serious condition at a local hospital.
Leland has been an officer with the Bellingham Police Department for three years, police said.
Officer Leland dropped Gonzalez in his tracks with either the first or second bullet in a volley of four shots. You’ll note Officer Leland gave voice commands that Gonzalez ignored, and when he was forced to fire he didn’t do so tentatively, and fired controlled shots at speed until he registered that the threat had gone away.
For a fatal arterial shot through the neck, there wasn’t Hollywood horror film spurting wound one might expect. I’d note that the officers in frame of the body camera did (as best I can tell) a good job of managing their weapons so that they didn’t muzzle one another, and they kept their fingers straight alongside the slide when they weren’t on target.
I’m personally not feeling a great deal of pity for the death of Mr. Gonzalez. As the video below shows, he’d stabbed a man in the neck a short time before his death for merely attempting to non-violently stop an altercation between Gonzalez and a woman.
The man Gonzalez stabbed is expected to pull through.