BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Police are investigating after an altercation led to a fatal shooting at a Halloween party in Bellingham on Friday.
At about 11:59 p.m., police responded to a reported shooting at a house on East Myrtle Street.
Arriving officers found a 21-year-old man with a gunshot wound to the chest inside the doorway of the residence.
Friends and family have identified the victim as Xyrone March-Walker. Xyrone’s sister, Nyssa March-Walker, says she watched helplessly as her beloved brother was killed.
“Right when it happened there was a lot of ringing by my ear,” said Nyssa. “I looked around, kind of everything went in slow motion for a few minutes.”
Police took over lifesaving measures from witnesses who were already performing CPR, before transferring care to Bellingham Fire Department medics. Nyssa March-Walker believes first-responders did not do enough to save her brother. She claims they failed to use a defibrillator.
Xryone died of his injuries at the scene.
Witnesses told police the shooting occurred after an altercation between the victim and Brian A. Pantoja, 22.
Nyssa March-Walker says earlier in the night, Pantoja “jumped” her brother and that the two had some sort of a run-in a week earlier.
“It wasn’t anything to take anyone’s life over,” said Nyssa March-Walker. “He just shot right over my shoulder, shot at my brother in his heart and his lungs.”
Previously charged with robbery, Pantoja is a felon and is not supposed to have a gun.
After shooting the victim, Pantoja then fled the scene with his friends, according to police.
After responding to the residence, officers immediately began searching for Pantoja, who was linked to a white Dodge Charger involved in a hit-and-run collision earlier in the night.
Police returned to the scene of the hit-and-run and witnessed the Dodge Charger leaving the area, but were unable to contact Pantoja.
Officers continued to search for him with the support of the Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office, and eventually located the vehicle in a parking lot in the 1900 block of Alabama Street.
With the help of two K-9s, police were able to determine that Pantoja was inside a nearby apartment.
Police were watching the apartment when they saw him walking out to a waiting car. He was then taken into custody without incident.
He was later booked into the Whatcom County Jail on charges of first-degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.
Pantoja is being held on $5 million bail. However, Nyssa March-Walker believes he’s a danger to the public and should never be allowed to walk free again.
Detectives and crime scene investigators with BPD will continue to investigate this incident.
Anyone with information on this shooting is asked to contact BPD at www.cob.org/tips or 360-778-8611.
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