Get the top 5 daily headlines and breaking news alerts from Seattle’s #1 morning news

Man accused in deadly Bellingham assault spree charged with first-degree murder

BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- A 33-year-old man accused of going on a violent assault spree in Bellingham and stabbing an elderly man to death has been charged with first-degree murder, among other charges.

Prosecutors said Jesse Reyes began his crime spree about 11 a.m. Saturday morning, when he attacked a woman who was sitting inside Lakeway Teryaki. The woman told police he approached her and starting punching her in the head and face.

Employees intervened, and Reyes allegedly fled on a bicycle, heading toward Carl Cozier, a nearby elementary school, according to court documents.

A few minutes later, a man was walking on the sidewalk at the corner of Lincoln and Potter streets when Reyes reportedly approached him while riding a bicycle. Reyes punched him in the face, knocking him to the ground, then straddled him and repeatedly hit him.

The victim suffered a brain bleed and had to be hospitalized overnight.

About 15 minutes after the first attack, witnesses called 911 and reported a man down on the trail behind Haskell Business Center. A police officer was in the area at the time and called in saying that the victim, 71-year-old Donald T. Alderson, had died of multiple stab wounds. An autopsy report said Alderson was stabbed 34 times and was a healthy 71-year-old before he was killed.

Witnesses told police they saw a man riding a bicycle away from where Alderson was attacked. They said he was wearing a white, blood-stained shirt and had blood on his face.

Reyes was taken into custody near 1800 Texas Street, still wearing the blood-soaked shirt and black beanie, police said.

A Boys and Girls Club employee found a folding knife with a three-inch blade in a field where children had been playing football. The knife had dried blood on it, police said.

Reyes was charged Tuesday with murder in the first degree with a deadly weapon, assault in the second degree and assault in the fourth degree.

Bond was set at $1 million.

Reyes had a handful of run-ins with Bellingham Police, according to the department, but also has a history of assault and an extensive criminal history out of Texas.

Investigators still don't know the motive behind the seemingly random attacks.