Detectives in Whatcom County arrested a suspect in the shooting death of a 67-year-old South Whidbey man whose body was found April 7 on Semiahmoo Parkway in Blaine.
On Monday, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office identified the victim as Thomas Flood. He suffered multiple gunshot wounds and his death has been ruled a homicide.
On Tuesday, investigators arrested a suspect, 62-year-old Lynda Clare Mercy of Bellingham, on suspicion of murder in the second degree, the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office reported. The statement didn’t suggest any possible motive.
Flood’s Ford Econoline was found the day after the shooting abandoned in the Fairhaven area of Bellingham. Investigators obtained surveillance video of a “suspect” who exited the van to purchase goods at an AM/PM gas station on Airport Drive, law enforcement reported.
Images of the suspect and the van were posted on the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Facebook page.
“This case is an excellent example of law enforcement and community members working together to identify and take the suspect in this case into custody,” Undersheriff Doug Chadwick said in a statement.
Flood’s address is listed as Freeland, but he was known to live in a Ford Econoline van, sometimes at the Whidbey Island Fairgrounds camping area in Langley.
The Island County Sheriff’s Office reported several traffic-related contacts with him over the years, most recently in 2018. At that time, he told deputies he was employed and living in the van by choice.
But in February, the county Housing Support Center referred Flood to the Whidbey Homeless Coalition for possible shelter at the House of Hope in Langley, according to Executive Director Jonathan Kline. Flood, however, never responded to their outreach.
Kline said the locations where people who live out of vehicles can park on Whidbey Island are very limited.
The Port of South Whidbey, for example, limits stays at the fairgrounds to two weeks within a 30-day period.