Whatcom County, WA– According to a press release from the Bellingham Police Department, at 12:20 a.m. on August 14th, 2019, Bellingham Officers responded to an apartment in the 900 block of 20th Street for reports of an armed male. Shortly after the initial call, Officers were updated that multiple shots had been fired and a woman inside the apartment had been struck by gunfire.
The suspect, identified by Bellingham Police as 22-year old Rigoberto Galvan of Burlington had allegedly climbed through a second-floor balcony, armed with a handgun and entered the apartment of his ex-girlfriend, identified by Bellingham Police as 22-year old Stephanie Cresswell-Brenner.
According to Court Documents, Stephanie and a friend were in the living room of the apartment watching TV when Rigoberto Galvan confronted them with a hand gun and allegedly told the friend “run because she is going to die.”
The friend apparently ran and called 9-1-1 as Rigoberto Galvan allegedly shot Stephanie Cresswell-Brenner 10 times in the back in what detectives called an “execution-style murder” as she sat on a couch. Witnesses told investigators that Stephanie Cresswell-Brenner, a Senior in Anthropology at Western Washington University had recently broke up with Rigoberto Galvan.
Court records show that Rigoberto Galvan unloaded the entire magazine of a Glock handgun with stray bullets striking the couch and floor before he allegedly called 9-1-1 and told dispatchers “to send as many cops as you can” and where police could find him, the gun used in the shooting and his former girlfriends body.
Court Records shows Galvan identified himself to Western Washington University Police Officers who responded to his location and he told them “I killed her” as he was taken into custody without incident.
Bellingham Police Officers found Stephanie Creswell-Brenner critically injured by several gunshot wounds in the apartment and attempted Life-Saving measures but her wounds were too severe to save her and she 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. Stephanie Cresswell-Brenner and Rigoberto Galvan had been in a previous romantic relationship, making the homicide a crime of domestic violence. The court initially set Galvan’s bail at 1 million dollars but raised it to 5 million dollars.
According to Whatcom County Medical Examiner, Dr. Gary Goldfogel, Stephanie 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.