Homeowner grabs rifle, chases off suspected burglars and disables getaway car with gunfire

The Whatcom County Jail.

FERNDALE, Wash. — Masked men armed with a knife entered a Ferndale home and sprayed the homeowner in the face with pepper spray, but the victim was able to get to his rifle and chased the home invaders out, firing at their car as they sped away, authorities said Thursday.

They were later arrested.

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office said the incident began at about 11:10 a.m. on Tuesday in the 4000 block of Elder Road in Ferndale. A homeowner said the unknown suspects had knocked on and then opened his unlocked door and entered his home. The suspects were wearing masks and bandanas.

“One was armed with a knife and one had pepper spray,” the sheriff’s office said.

When the homeowner — a 19-year-old man — confronted the suspects, “one of them sprayed the victim in the face with the pepper spray. The victim … then armed himself with a rifle and displayed it at the suspects. The suspects ran out of the house chased by the homeowner.”

Three of the suspects jumped into a green Honda and a fourth suspect fled on foot.

“As the suspect vehicle fled, the victim fired two rounds from the rifle in an attempt to disable the vehicle,” the sheriff’s office said.

Deputies found the suspects’ car nearby; it was disabled and had at least one bullet hole in it, the sheriff’s office said.

Three men found near the car were arrested as suspects. Shortly after that, a fourth man who was believed to have run away from the crime scene was found and arrested.

All four were booked into the Whatcom County Jail for investigation of first-degree burglary.