News

Man hit on head with gun

Jacob Whitaker didn’t shoot anyone in the head, but he could still end up in prison for allegedly assaulting another man with a gun.

Prosecutors charged Whitaker, a 20-year-old transient living in the Oak Harbor area, in Island County Superior Court Jan. 6 with second-degree assault with a deadly weapon enhancement and unlawful possession of a firearm in the second degree.

Early in the morning on New Year’s Day, the Oak Harbor Police received a report that a man being treated Whidbey General Hospital had been shot in the head somewhere in Oak Harbor.

Detective Teri Gardner, however, went to the hospital and found that the 23-year-old man had not been shot. In her report, Gardner describes a gash near the victim’s temple, a long red line on the side of his face, a tear above the middle of his lip and red marks on either side of his nose. “These injuries,” she wrote,”appear to be consistent with being struck with an object the size/shape of a handgun.”

According to Gardner, the victim said he and his girlfriend, who is Whitaker’s ex-girlfriend, went to a party on Heller Road. The victim claimed Whitaker shot him in the head “for no reason.” He said Whitaker hit him in the head with the gun and he went “sort of blank” when the gun went off.

Both the victim and his girlfriend thought he had been shot. The woman ran screaming out of the room and curled up into a ball in the living room.

The injured man started walking home, but was picked up by friends, who drove his to his residence. At home, the victim’s roommates called 911.

Oak Harbor Police Sgt. Jerry Baker said police served a search warrant last Wednesday at the Heller Road residence, the site of the party, and retrieved pieces of bloody carpet and a .22 caliber bullet from a stud in the wall.

Police had arrested Whitaker the day before. At the time of his arrest, he was wanted on warrants for minor in possession, fighting and harassment, Gardner wrote.

Prosecutors charged Whitaker with unlawful possession of a firearm because he had previously been convicted of a drug-related felony and was not allowed to possess a gun, under state law.

Judge Vickie Churchill set Whitaker’s bail at $30,000 on Jan. 5.

If convicted of the charges, Whitaker could face more than four years in prison under the standard sentencing range.

For police, it’s been a tough case. “We’re still not getting much cooperation from the witnesses,” Capt. Rick Wallace said, “but it’s getting pieced together, piece by piece.”

You can reach Jessie Stensland at jstensland@whidbeynewstimes.com or 675-6611.

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