BELLINGHAM — A Ferndale man who was arrested after a woman was killed by a stray bullet on Father’s Day said in an exclusive interview Thursday that he did not fire the fatal shot.
In an interview Thursday, Quiding said, “I’m a family man myself. I have children. It’s terrible. First of all I’d like to send my deepest condolences to the family of Alyssa Smith.”
Quiding, 40, was target shooting with four friends on private property last Sunday when a stray bullet from a high-powered rifle struck and killed Smith.
On Tuesday, Whatcom County prosecutors charged Quiding and Robert Lee, 23, with unlawful possession of a firearm because both are felons.
“I want to assure the family that, with the help of my attorneys, I’m cooperating fully with the law enforcement investigation,” Quiding said. “I do not want to make any public statements that may distract from or delay the answers the Smith family may want, but I maintain my innocence and I’m confident the investigation will clear me of any implication of causing this tragic accident.”
“They’re not supposed to even have guns and they have a high-powered rifle and handguns and to just be shooting at whatever they want to shoot at,” neighbor Debbie Engler said.
Quiding’s lawyer, Sean McKee, said his position is that Quiding was not in possession or control of a firearm and that he expects his client to be cleared of the charge.
The Snohomish County Medical Examiner’s Office ruled Smith’s death a homicide, but no homicide charges have been filed against any of the five men.
“I do anticipate that that investigation will clear Mr. Quiding as having been the person responsible or the person who fired that particular weapon that caused this tragic incident,” McKee said.
Quiding has a lengthy criminal past that includes assault, harassment, domestic violence, drug charges and auto theft, but his attorney says he’s been clean for the past seven years.
Whatcom County prosecutors will now have to figure out which of the five men fired the fatal shot.