Birch Bay man attempts hara-kiri

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By Steve Guntli

A Birch Bay man was sent to the hospital after attempting to disembowel himself while escaping arrest.

At approximately 11 p.m. on June 20, Morgan Ritchie, 34, entered the home of his wife, Anne Ritchie, on Outrigger Loop in Birch Bay. Ritchie had a no-contact order for domestic violence and was prohibited from entering the home. Anne was on the phone with Morgan’s brother, Aaron Miller, when Ritchie entered. Miller contacted the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

According to the incident report, Ritchie was extremely intoxicated and behaved erratically. He threatened to commit suicide, going so far as to make small cuts in his throat with a pocketknife.

When Ritchie noticed the approaching patrol car lights, he fled out the back door, taking several knives from the kitchen with him. Sheriff’s deputies set up a perimeter to look for him. Deputies checked a ditch running behind Anne’s property and found him lying in a ditch under Bay Road.

Ritchie had stabbed himself in the upper stomach with a kitchen knife. According to the incident report, he became verbally aggressive with deputies, yelling at them to shoot him and saying he wanted to “die with honor like a samurai.” Eventually, deputies were able to convince him to come out of the ditch and remove the knife from his stomach. Medics arrived shortly thereafter and took him to PeaceHealth St. Joseph Hospital in Bellingham.

Deputies searched the ditch and found three other knives and the garage door opener Ritchie had used to enter the house. None of the other knives had blood on them. Deputies determined his injuries were too severe for him to go to jail, and advised he receive mental health treatment in addition to the treatment of his wound.

Anne refused to sign an incident order or press charges, saying he has never assaulted her and she has repeatedly asked to have the no-contact order rescinded.

Ritchie was released from the hospital on June 23. Sheriff’s deputies determined there was probable cause to charge him with residential burglary and violation of a no-contact order. Deputies placed him under arrest on June 25. He is slated to appear in Whatcom County District Court on July 28.

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