A Bellingham man, apparently fueled by a fit of rage, has been charged with attempting to kill a Birch Bay man in a February 19 drive-by shooting.
Whatcom County sheriff’s deputies responded to the 5500 block of Hillvue Road at 5:45 p.m. on February 19 after receiving a report that Juan Avena, 28, had been shot and the suspect was on the run.
Martin Dylan Siergiey, 35, allegedly believed Avena had raped his wife in November, according to the affidavit of probable cause (APC) sheriff’s deputy Erik G. Francis filed in Whatcom County Superior Court. The APC states Avena reportedly did not know Siergiey, who drove up to Avena’s house and asked him, “Are you Juan?” When Avena replied in the affirmative, Siergiey accused Avena of raping his wife last November and then “produced a black automatic handgun and began to shoot at [him] from his vehicle. [Avena] was only a few feet away and ran south behind a neighbor’s house.” Siergiey continued to shoot at Avena, who fled into his neighbor’s house.
As he ran, a bullet struck him in the upper right thigh and passed through his leg, according to the affidavit. First responders later treated Avena, the only person injured, at the scene. He was later seen by a doctor.
Siergiey allegedly shot at the neighbor’s house, which was hit by two rounds, one that hit the headboard in their bedroom and another that hit their bathroom closet.
Avena said he believed Siergiey tried to kill him and wanted to pursue charges. He was able to describe Siergiey and his vehicle, which allowed deputies to provide a photo lineup from which Avena identified Siergiey.
Siergiey was identified as a possible suspect based on a suspicious circumstance report filed by a third party in November that accused Avena of raping Siergiey’s wife. According to the APC, the wife was interviewed but did not confirm the accusation or cooperate with investigators. After the shooting, Avena told deputy Francis that he had met the woman in a chance encounter in November and had consensual intercourse with her. She left and he had not seen her subsequently, according to the APC. Afterward, the woman told Francis that Avena had raped her “but she refused to cooperate.” She added that she had told Siergiey on the morning of his arrest that she planned to divorce him but would not cooperate with the shooting investigation because she did not want to incriminate him.
Sheriff’s deputies and the Bellingham police officers later contacted Siergiey who turned himself in around 1 a.m. the following day after negotiations with deputies.
Sheriff’s deputies booked Siergiey into Whatcom County Jail where he was booked on charges of criminal attempt to commit homicide and drive-by shooting, which are Class A and B felonies. Siergiey is being held without bail, according to jail booking data.
Siergiey’s arraignment is scheduled for 9 a.m. on March 5.
This article has been updated to include new information that appeared in the February 25 print issue.