An elementary school principal and her two pets were found fatally shot Thursday in her Bellingham home, and authorities are considering her husband the sole suspect, according to the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office.

The husband, Kevin Heimsoth, was also found at the home, alive with a gunshot wound to the head that officials believe was self-inflicted, according to a statement from the Sheriff’s Office. He is being guarded by sheriff’s deputies at Harborview Medical Center, where Sheriff Bill Elfo said he is in serious condition.

Lynn Heimsoth, 58, had been principal of Sunnyland Elementary School since 2017. Bellingham Public Schools Superintendent Greg Baker said she was a “passionate, equity-driven instructional leader.”

Help for domestic-violence survivors

If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you have been abused by an intimate partner, you can call the 24-hour National Domestic Violence Hotline at 800-799-7233 or 800-787-3224 (TTY). A variety of agencies in the area offer assistance, including confidential shelters, counseling, child therapy and legal help. For a list of resources, visit the Washington State Coalition Against Domestic Violence's website.

“We are heartbroken by this news,” Baker wrote in a statement on the district’s website. “Her death is a profound loss to our Sunnyland community, our school district and to our extended community … She loved kids to the core and always kept students’ needs at the center of her work.”

Lynn Heimsoth had previously been principal of Shoultes Elementary in Marysville and had worked as a teacher and an instructional leader for schools in Bremerton, North Kitsap and South Kitsap, according to the post.

A neighbor of the Heimsoths thought they heard a strange noise, possibly gunshots, from their unit at the Chartwell Estates condominium complex around 2:45 a.m. Thursday, Elfo said. The neighbor went to check on them later that morning and discovered a body, then called 911 around 10:30 a.m., he said.


At the condo in the 900 block of Marine Drive, deputies found Lynn Heimsoth, her therapy dog and her cat dead, and her 56-year-old husband wounded. Nobody else was in the home, Elfo said.

Whatcom County Medical Examiner Dr. Gary Goldfogel said his office determined Lynn Heimsoth died of a gunshot wound to the head from a handgun. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Deputies have been unable to speak to Kevin Heimsoth because of his condition but are working with prosecutors in anticipation of filing criminal charges, Elfo said.

Detectives are looking into the background of Kevin Heimsoth, who Elfo said works in the food industry. Investigators have not found any criminal record. The Sheriff’s Office also has not received reports of domestic violence from the Heimsoths, or from their condo, he said. Detectives are checking with other agencies.

According to The Bellingham Herald, a Twitter account under the husband’s name and linked to contact information associated with him tweeted around 3 a.m. Thursday about killing the family.

“We’re aware of that, but we have not yet confirmed it,” Elfo said. “That’s an issue we need to go through with Twitter.”


Officials have not confirmed the account, created in 2014, belongs to Kevin Heimsoth. The account is followed and has been retweeted by an account also created in 2014 that appears to belong to Lynn Heimsoth.

Most of the Twitter user’s tweets are in response to President Donald Trump, opposing the president’s policies and statements, including those about mass shootings.

Early Thursday, the Twitter user responded to a tweet from the National Rifle Association, saying they had just killed their family and “couldn’t have done it without a gun.” In a tweet the user repeated in the next 20 minutes, tagging the president and then U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, they said that guns — particularly AR-15s — make it easier to kill people. In another tweet, the user said someone should call for a welfare check at the apartment unit.

Elfo said his office has decided to not yet release details on the gun used, but he said it was not an AR-15 or any other kind of rifle.