Acme slaying victim ID’d, was shot twice in the head

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Authorities have identified the victim of Tuesday night’s slaying in rural Whatcom County as David J. Palagruti of Mount Vernon.

Palagruti, 27, was shot twice in the head with a handgun, once at close range, as he sat in the passenger seat of a vehicle parked outside a home in the 6000 block of Saxon Road south of Acme about 8 p.m. Tuesday, according to Whatcom County sheriff’s officials and the Whatcom County medical examiner.

Neither bullet traveled through window glass, Dr. Gary Goldfogel, the medical examiner, said in an email Thursday. Palagruti’s body had “no combative or defensive injuries,” he said. Initial toxicology tests showed he had drugs in his system.

Palagruti’s girlfriend, who was at the wheel of the car, was unharmed.

No suspects had been arrested. Sheriff Bill Elfo said Thursday morning that the investigation was continuing and no further details were available.

“It is believed that the shooting was a deliberate targeting of the victim and the community at large is not in danger of random attacks by this suspect,” Elfo said in a statement issued Wednesday afternoon.

He said the shooter approached the car and made brief contact with the victim, then fired and fled on foot.

Sheriff’s deputies and other law enforcement officials searched with dogs and aircraft Tuesday night into Wednesday as temperatures in the remote South Fork Valley dipped into the low 20s and a gusty 20-mph breeze blew from the northeast. Meanwhile, detectives interviewed witnesses and collected evidence at the scene.

Elfo said anyone with information about the shooting should call the sheriff’s office at 360-778-6600, or 911 if the information is “exigent,” such as the suspect’s name or whereabouts.

Robert Mittendorf: 360-756-2805, @BhamMitty