Robbery thought to be cause of high school attack

Published on Thu, Nov 27, 2003
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Robbery thought to be cause of high school attack

It appears that an intended robbery may have been at the heart of an attack on a Blaine high school student which occurred on the campus shortly before 3 p.m. Monday afternoon, according to Blaine police reports.

As school was closing for the day, officers in the area of the campus responded to a reported assault in the high school parking lot near the gymnasiums on Borderite Way. On arrival they found a 16-year-old girl Blaine high school sophomore who was suffering a head injury.

Several witnesses reported that they had seen a man, later identified as 19-year-old John T. Chapin, Jr., of 4240 Birch Bay-Lynden Road in Blaine, and a 16-year-old Ferndale area girl involved in attacking the Blaine student.

Chapin had apparently driven to the campus with the Ferndale girl in his car as classes were letting out. According to police reports, they approached the victim and two other female Blaine high school students in the parking lot. The two other students ran, but the victim, who is recovering from a sports injury, was unable to flee.

Chapin apparently identified the victim to the Ferndale girl, and the girl then proceeded to strike the victim with her hand and with a metal club she was brandishing, striking her at least once in the head while taunting her to fight and calling her racially derogatory names. The victim is a minority. The attack stopped when a school bus driver saw what was occurring and intervened. The Ferndale girl and Chapin then reportedly used the club to beat on a car belonging to one of the girls who had initially run from them.

The pair then returned to Chapin�s car, and fled the scene after threatening the victim to not call the police, according to authorities. Medical personnel from North Whatcom Fire and Rescue Services (NWFRS) responded to the school and treated the victim for her injuries. She was released to a parent at the scene.

Several student witnesses and school personnel who assisted the officers were interviewed and the suspects were identified. A watch-for was issued for Chapin and his accomplice. A Blaine officer was able to talk to Chapin via phone and the man promised to turn himself in to police, but instead attempted to leave the country by crossing the border north of Lynden shortly after 5 p.m. He was apprehended by Canadian Customs inspectors, who were watching for the suspect at Blaine�s request, according to police.

A Blaine officer then arrested Chapin when the Canadian authorities returned him to the U.S. Chapin�s accomplice called Ferndale police later in the evening, and Ferndale police assisted Blaine officers in arresting the teenager at a home in Ferndale.

As of press time, the police were still sorting out why the attack occurred. It seems that one of the Blaine students who ran from the pair at the school is apparently Chapin�s former girlfriend, and the girl who was attacked is a friend of the ex-girlfriend.

Earlier in the day of the attack, Chapin had apparently argued with the ex-girlfriend over the phone, demanding the return of a ring and threatened to come to the school and take it.

Chapin and the 16-year-old Ferndale teenager were booked into Whatcom County Jail and juvenile detention. A report is being forwarded to the prosecutor�s office for a review of possible charges, including attempted robbery, assault II, felony malicious mischief, trespass, and reckless driving.

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