Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, August 14th, officers responded to the 900 block of 20th street for a man with a gun call, where shots were heard fired almost immediately thereafter. As officers came into the area, the suspect, Rigoberto Galvan, 22, also called 9-1-1 to report he just shot his girlfriend, Stephanie Cresswell-Brenner, 22. Galvan reported where he was and was taken into custody without incident by arriving Western Washington University Police Officers.
As Galvan was being arrested, Bellingham Police Officers continued to the apartment where they found Stephanie critically injured by several gunshots. Despite the officers’ immediate lifesaving first aid measures, Cresswell-Brenner died at the scene. Bellingham Police Crime Scene Investigators and Detectives immediately began processing the scene and initiating an investigation into this homicide.
Galvan was arrested and booked into the Whatcom County Jail for 1st Degree Murder (Domestic Violence) and has since been charged with that as well as Burglary 1st Degree. Cresswell-Brenner and Galvan had a previous romantic relationship making the homicide a crime of domestic violence. The court set Galvan’s bail at 5 million dollars.
According to Whatcom County Medical Examiner, Dr. Gary Goldfogel, Cresswell-Brenner was shot multiple times and her wounds were non-survivable. He deemed the cause of death as gunshot wounds consistent with the handgun located by police at the scene, and the manner of death as homicide.
“Our officers did what they could for Stephanie on this night, but she was too critically injured. This is a tragic loss of life and we want to extend our sincere condolences to Stephanie’s family during this difficult time and want them to know we are keeping them in our thoughts.” said Chief David Doll.
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence or sexual assault, you can contact the following local resources for free, confidential support:
Lummi Victims of Crime, 360.312.2015
Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Services, 360.715.1563
Western Washington University (WWU) also has the following support services available:
WWU Counseling Center will provide assistance to any student impacted by this incident. Students may contact the office at 360-650-3164 for support. Employees may access the Employee Assistance Program, 877-313-4455. Both numbers are available 24 hours a day.
If you or someone you know has been impacted by violence, either recently or in the past, CASAS, a confidential support service for Western students who have been affected by violence, is available at 360-650-3700, in Old Main 585B.