Bellingham police have arrested the murder of a woman downtown

The Bellingham Police Department announced Sunday that they have arrested a man suspected of killing a woman on the landing of the 22 North apartment complex in downtown.

33-year-old Shyla A. Englert was jailed in Watcom County Jail at 1:40 p.m. on Sunday, Feb. 20, on suspicion of second-degree murder.

Englert was arrested by special forces of the Bellingham Police Department on Sunday morning in the 1400 quarter on Moore Street after police received reliable information about his whereabouts, according to a press release from the department on Sunday afternoon. A group of special services reportedly detained Englert within an hour of arriving at the scene.

Englert was wanted for the murder of Cassandra Booker31, after her body was found Feb. 8 on a stairwell on the first floor of st 22 NorthA 40-apartment residential complex on North State Street for young people experiencing homelessness, run by the Council of Opportunity and the Northwest Youth Service.

Booker was found with a gunshot wound to the head, and one bullet of unknown caliber was found at the scene, although the gun was not, according to documents from the Supreme Court of the Watcom County.

According to the release, Englert had managed to avoid capture nearly 10 hours earlier after police were informed of his whereabouts at about 1 a.m. Sunday. But Englert was reportedly warned of the presence of police, and he managed to escape from the area on foot. The K9 track in the area was unsuccessful.

But later in the morning, police received additional information that Englert was hiding in a place on Moore Street and created a perimeter before the arrival of special forces, the release said.

Once the special forces arrived, the team began urging Englert to come out and surrender peacefully, as stated in the release, but they received no response.

According to the release, the SWAT team used “distraction devices” to get Englert’s attention, but he continued to ignore the commands. Police announced they would send chemical irritants to the building where Englert was hiding, but only after they did so did Englert come out and be taken into custody without further incident, the release said.

After the arrest, investigators at the crime scene remained searching for any remaining evidence, according to a release that adds that Englert will appear for the first time in the Supreme Court of Vatcom County next week.

The woman’s body was found

According to court documents, police were called at 22 North at 9:29 p.m. Feb. 8 after Booker’s body was found on the stairwell.

Detectives reviewed video footage from CCTV cameras, according to court documents, and found:

At 20:25 a man, later identified as Englert, arrived at the building in a beige Lexus sedan with characteristic body damage on the hood. Englert parked on the spot in front of the building, got out of the Lexus and talked to Booker on the sidewalk opposite 22 North.

At 8:28 p.m., an unidentified woman in a Lexus showroom came out, and Englert physically attacked Booker, hitting her in the head and hitting her several times. The unidentified returned to the front passenger seat of the Lexus.

At 8:34 p.m., Englert, Booker, and Witness entered the first-floor stairwell at 22 North. The witness later told police that she, Englert and Booker smoked “blues” (or fentanyl pills) and that Englert began comforting and hugging Booker.

At 8:42 p.m., the witness left the stairwell, leaving Englert and Booker alone. The witness said she left because she believed Englert and Booker were going to be close.

At 8:53 p.m., Booker stepped out of the stairwell and headed for the front door, where she raised her hands up and down and looked in the direction of the Lexus. Then Booker returned to the stairwell, and no one came in after her.

At 21:18 Englert went out on the landing of the second floor and went out into the alley behind the building. Englert was spotted with his hands in his pockets, and used a sleeve to cover his arm to control the door button, which police believe is an attempt not to leave fingerprints or DNA at the scene. Englert then walked down the alley to East Laurel Street, then again headed west and north along North State Street before boarding a Lexus and driving off 22nd North.

At 9:28 p.m., a 911 ambulance officer went to the landing, found Booker’s body, and called 911.

A Lexus, which corresponds to what was seen in the video from video surveillance, was spotted at 3 p.m. incident.

Several law enforcement officers, who previously spoke with Englert, identified him by video surveillance, the documents said.

On February 11, charges were filed and an arrest warrant was issued for Englert, and a day later the Bellingham Police Department issued a message asking to help the public in his search.

Records of the Watcom County Supreme Court show that Englert had already been charged with possession of a stolen vehicle, obstructing law enforcement and fleeing the January 18 incident in which he reportedly drove a stolen car through a retaining wall and then fled.

This story was originally published February 20, 2022 16:21.

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and is now covering the latest news. Since 1994, he has been an editor and writer in several western states.

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