December 8, 2021

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Second murder suspect arrested by Whatcom sheriff’s office

The Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office has taken 34-year-old Zachary Scott Ranahan, the second suspect in a weekend murder of a Bellingham man, into custody after shots were fired during his arrest Monday evening in an incident just west of Bellingham.

“There was an incident taking him into custody where there were shots fired, an officer-involved shooting,” Chief Deputy Kevin Hester told The Bellingham Herald.

Ranahan was taken to the hospital, though Hester said he was unsure if he had been injured by gunfire. As of 7:45 p.m. Monday, online records showed Ranahan had not yet been booked into Whatcom County Jail.

Hester said no deputies were injured during the incident, which occurred after 5 p.m. Oct. 12 in the 3100 block of West Maplewood Avenue.

Hester said he was unable to comment on who fired or when during the incident at this time, as the incident was being investigated.

Handling that independent investigation, Hester said, will be the Skagit County Skagit MultiAgency Response Team known as SMART.

Unconfirmed emergency radio broadcasts at the time of the incident said law enforcement was planning to close a portion of Interstate 5 and asked for air support assistance from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection helicopter before the suspect was taken into custody at 5:29 p.m.

The Bellingham Police Department reported in a tweet Monday that West Maplewood Avenue is closed due to law enforcement activity in the area.

The closure is in both directions and extends from McLeod Road to West Bakerview Road.

“Situation is stable with one suspect in custody,” the tweet read.

Ranahan and a Bellingham woman allegedly used a ruse to lure a Bellingham man to rural northern Whatcom County before shooting and killing him Sunday morning, according to Whatcom County Superior Court records released earlier Monday.

Detectives from the sheriff’s office were called to the 4000 block of Mosquito Lake Road at around 9 a.m. on Sunday, Oct. 11. They found 41-year-old Clinton E. Gulick face down in the gravel next to a running car at a construction site north of the Middle Fork Bridge. Gulick had been shot five times and was declared dead at the scene, according to court records.

Roseanne Louise Paden, 36, was booked into Whatcom County Jail Sunday evening on suspicion of first-degree murder. At her first appearance in court Monday a court commissioner set her bail at $1.5 million. Formal charges are expected to be filed by the end of the day Tuesday, Oct. 13, according to Whatcom County Deputy Prosecuting Attorney Evan Jones.

Ranahan was wanted on a first-degree murder charge, according to charging documents filed in court Monday. His charges include an aggravating factor for allegedly committing the crime while armed with a firearm, the court records show.

The crime

When sheriff’s detectives found Gulick, they found a key card in his wallet for a hotel on Lakeway Drive. When a detective was speaking with the hotel front desk staff Sunday to see if Gulick had rented a room, Paden approached the detective and asked who he was looking for. Paden told the detective she had been friends with Gulick and he had been staying at the hotel with her, according to court records.

Paden also told the detective she was present when Gulick was shot and killed, the court records state.

In an interview with detectives, Paden said Ranahan shot and killed Gulick, according to court records. Paden said she had sexual relationships with Gulick and Ranahan and that the men did not like each other, the records state. She said Gulick had threatened to kill or have someone else kill Ranahan, the records show.

On Sunday, Paden was hanging out with Ranahan and the pair allegedly used narcotics, while Gulick was at the hotel. Paden allegedly told Ranahan about Gulick’s threats to kill him and told him to be careful, court records state. During a phone conversation between Paden and Gulick, Ranahan allegedly heard Gulick calling him names and threatening him, the records show.

Ranahan “did not want to die and indicated he had to take care of Gulick,” the court records state.

Paden contacted Gulick and told him she was having vehicle problems, and he agreed to come help her. Paden and Ranahan drove to the 4000 block of Mosquito Lake Road, where they parked her car off the roadway, the records state.

During the drive, Ranahan allegedly displayed and pointed a .45 caliber semi-automatic handgun he had, records show. He also told Paden several scenarios about what would happen when Gulick arrived. The pair opened the hood of Paden’s vehicle to make it appear as if it broke down, the records show.

Ranahan hid until Gulick arrived. When Gulick arrived, Ranahan approached Gulick with his gun out, yelled at him and made him sit down, court records state. Gulick allegedly begged Ranahan to put the gun away, but Ranahan shot Gulick once, according to court records. Paden said she could hear Gulick crying, the records state.

Ranahan then shot Gulick several more times, the court records show.

Ranahan and Paden got into Paden’s vehicle and fled to Ranahan’s friend’s house. Ranahan left with his friend to clean Paden’s car, the court records state.

Paden later went back to the hotel to check out, which is when she ran into the sheriff’s detective, according to court records.

Ranahan’s history

Ranahan served a two-year prison sentence for the armed robbery of Cruisin Coffee on Calluna Court in March 2010, when Ranahan and another man threatened two baristas with knives, according to charging papers. Ranahan confessed to the crime a day later, when he was detained for running off with $4,000 worth of rings from a Bellingham jewelry store.

Six years later, almost to the day, Ranahan was arrested to face charges of robbing Buzz Thru Coffee on Meridian Street. He had ordered an espresso shake from a barista at the drive-up window on March 15, 2015, and as she turned around to make it, Ranahan climbed through the window and demanded money, court records show. He was sentenced to 3½ in prison in 2017 after a jury convicted him of second-degree burglary and robbery.

In addition, Whatcom County Superior Court records show he has previous convictions for criminal impersonation, criminal trespassing, possession of a controlled substance, theft, forgery and bail jumping.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.

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