Trial set in Birch Bay beating case

Published on Wed, Sep 1, 2010 by By Jeremy Schwartz

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A trial date of October 18 has been set for Lucas Davis, 19, in Whatcom County Superior Court. Davis has been charged with felony harassment in connection with an attack on a 16-year-old boy in Birch Bay.

The attack took place around midnight on August 16 near the intersection of Alderson Road and Loft Lane.

Davis and three other boys, two 14-year-olds and a 16-year-old, allegedly stole the victim’s Nintendo video game system and beat him, his neighbors and his father when they tried to intervene.

The three boys who were the initiators of the attack were all arrested within a few days of the initial incident. One fourteen-year-old was arrested later that night along with Davis and booked into Whatcom County jail. The 16-year-old and other 14-year-old were arrested within the next week and booked into the county’s juvenile detention center.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Department said the attack is suspected to be gang-related. Sheriff Bill Elfo said the sheriff’s department has seen an up tick in reported gang activity in Birch Bay in the last few years.

Gang activity is often hard to pin down because of its tendency to move from community to community, Elfo explained.

Suspected gangs will often move to a new area once police crack down on their previous territory, he said.

“It’s almost like wack-a-mole at the carnival,” Elfo said.

At least one of the suspects involved in the August 16 attack, Davis, has been arrested before in Birch Bay, according to court documents.

On November, 16, 2009, officers responded to a break-in at Bay Center Grocery on Harborview Road. The store’s video cameras showed four individuals entering the store through windows they had broken. They stole $60 worth of alcohol and cigarettes and caused $500 in damage, according to court records. Police later contacted one of the four, who subsequently named his accomplices including Davis. Lucas admitted he entered the store through one of the broken windows and stole some bottles of wine.

 Davis later pleaded guilty to second-degree burglary. He was ordered to pay $590 in restitution to Bay Center Grocery and sentenced to 30 days of electronically monitored house arrest.

While Davis is a repeat offender, gang affiliation is difficult to determine.

The sheriff’s department has three main criteria that help them determine whether a community may have gang activity, Elfo said. Those are people proclaiming themselves as a gang, either through tattoos or word of mouth, tagging a given area with graffiti, and engaging in criminal activity under the name of a gang.

The arrests in this case will help in the short term, but Elfo said suspected gang members will often return to their communities to offend again.