Sporting goods store employee shoots man during attempted robbery, police say

BELLINGHAM, Wash. — A 37-year-old man suspected in an attempted robbery at a Bellingham sporting goods store is in the hospital after being shot by a store employee Thursday, according to Bellingham police.

Police said they were initially called about 11:04 a.m. to the Haggen Foods store on Meridian Street for a robbery.

Two men reportedly entered the store, stole multiple bottles of liquor and then took off in a car.

About 14 minutes later, police said they were called to a robbery at Yeager’s Sporting Goods, where shots were fired.

When officers arrived they found a man on the floor with a gunshot wound to his chest, being held down by store employees. He was taken to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Medical Center and then moved to Harborview Medical Center.

The man reportedly tried to rob the store.

Police said the suspect walked to the gun counter, pulled out a hammer and began striking the glass top several times. The man was told to stop but did not stop and tried climbing over the counter.

A store employee reportedly feared for his life and then pulled out his concealed firearm and shot the man in the chest.

A second person, a 41-year-old man who was with the suspect but never entered the sporting goods store, was questioned. He was also taken to the hospital for a medical issue unrelated to the attempted robbery.

Officers said they had determined that both men were suspects in the grocery store robbery.

There is probable cause to arrest the 37-year-old for first-degree attempted robbery, second-degree robbery, and attempted theft of a firearm. The suspect is a convicted felon and prohibited from having a firearm, and the car he was driving was stolen, which could result in additional charges being filed, according to police.

The investigation remains ongoing.