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Tuesday, July 7, 2020

Western student dies in Happy Valley shooting

By Julia Berkman and Esther Chong

A 22-year-old woman was shot and killed in an apartment on the 900 block of 20th Street just past midnight on Wednesday, Aug. 14, according to a press release from the Bellingham Police Department.

Stephanie Cresswell-Brenner, a Western student and senior in anthropology, was a victim of intimate partner violence, according to a statement from Western’s Vice President for Enrollment and Student Services, Melynda Huskey.

The 22-year-old suspect, Rigoberto Galvan was arrested on suspicion of first-degree murder by University Police after calling 911 on himself, the release says. It is still unclear whether or not Galvan was still at the scene when he was arrested, according to Bellingham Police Department’s Public Information Officer Claudia Murphy. 

Murphy said multiple people reported gunshots to 911. One reporting party said Galvan allegedly climbed into their window in order to enter the apartment, according to an emergency radio broadcast released on The Bellingham Herald website. 

“A call like this is going to take just about our entire [night] shift,” Murphy said.

Several Bellingham Police officers arrived at the scene of the crime and attempted to save the victim’s life, but were unsuccessful, according to the release. The release said BPD Investigations Division and Crime Scene Investigators are continuing to investigate the crime.

BPD has not yet released the victim’s name, awaiting an autopsy and notification of next of kin, Murphy said. 

Galvan is in the student directory indicating he is either a current or recently enrolled Western student. According to Huskey’s email, Galvan has been trespassed from Western Washington University. He is currently in custody at Whatcom County Jail, according to jail records.

Galvan’s bail has been set at $1 million, according to court records.

Our hearts go out to the friends and families affected by this tragic news,” Huskey said.

This article will be updated with more information.


**Corrected 8/14 at 8:51 p.m. to reflect that Galvan is in the student directory.

**Corrected 8/16 at 7:31 p.m. to include Huskey’s updated statement.



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