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Bellingham coach suspected of filming players in the shower found dead in Spokane hotel room

SPOKANE, Wash. - On September 4, Bellingham Police received an initial complaint from two adult males who believed they were being video recorded while taking a shower after a sporting event at Seattle Pacific University (SPU) in Seattle on the weekend of August 25-26.

The two men are part of Bellingham Slam, a semi-professional basketball team.  The suspect has been identified as Kip Leonetti who is listed as an associate coach on the team website and an employee of Western Washington University (WWU)’s Wade King Student Recreation Center.  

Bellingham Police immediately reached out to WWU police who provided personnel to assist with the investigation.  After a preliminary investigation, Leonetti was contacted on September 6, interviewed and released as probable cause for an arrest had not yet been developed.  

WWU placed Leonetti on administrative leave as a result of this investigation.   A search warrant was obtained to retrieve and analyze Leonetti’s phone and other electronic devices.  Investigators conducted an initial analysis of Leonetti’s cell phone and confirmed seeing the reported unlawfully recorded images.

On September 12, Bellingham Police were advised through the Spokane Police Department that Kip Leonetti was found deceased on Monday, September 10, in a hotel room within their city limits.  Leonetti’s death, an apparent suicide, is under investigation by Spokane Police Department.

Bellingham Police Chief David Doll said, “We recognize the seriousness of these allegations. Our department will dedicate all available resources and expertise to identify any potential victims from the evidence we have seized and ensure no further harm is done.” 

WWU Police Chief Darin Rasmussen said, “Western is committed to providing any and all assistance requested by the Bellingham Police Department.  I want to recognize the courage of the two men who initially reported the unlawful videotaping to police.”

Bellingham Police is continuing our investigation to identify other additional victims of unlawful video recordings in conjunction with WWU Police, WWU and SPU Staff.

If you have information or knowledge regarding this investigation, please call the Bellingham Police Department at 360-778-8823.


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