Crime

She allegedly helped plan a Bellingham gang fight and provided a gun used in the fight

A 45-year-old Bellingham woman is facing felony charges for her suspected role in a fight between rival gangs, including allegedly giving a gun to a 15-year-old who then shot someone with it during the fight.

Tillina Michelle Slayer is charged with first-degree assault, with a firearm enhancement, and criminal mischief while armed, according to charging papers filed Friday in Whatcom County Superior Court.

Slayer had a first appearance in court Wednesday, and was released later that day on $50,000 bail. Her next court appearance is scheduled for 9 a.m. on July 6.

Shortly before 12:30 a.m. on June 21, Bellingham police were called to Sunset Pond for the report of shots fired. When officers arrived, they found a then-18-year-old Bellingham man sitting on the sidewalk holding his right leg, according to court records. A 19-year-old man was applying pressure to the wound, and an 18-year-old Ferndale woman was also standing nearby.

Luis Vera-Yrizarris, who was then 18, was shot in his right thigh. He was later taken to the hospital where he was treated and released.

Vera-Yrizarris told officers the 15-year-old boy shot him. He said he and the boy have had ongoing issues stemming from a gang conflict.

Vera-Yrizarris said the 15-year-old boy was there with two other juveniles and Slayer, whom the boy knows.

Witnesses said the boy shot Vera-Yrizarris from the south entrance to the Sunset Pond parking lot. When detectives checked the area, they found several 9 mm shell casings and a live round, the records state.

Prior to the shooting, rival gang members gathered near the 3400 block of James Street, near where Slayer lives. During an interview, Slayer told detectives she wanted it to be a fair fight and when she noticed she and her group were outnumbered, she drove to the AM/PM on Airport Drive and picked up additional gang members as reinforcements, according to court records.

Once the fighting began, Slayer allegedly joined in and actively fought rival gang members, most of whom were juveniles, the records show.

"She had knowledge the assault was going to occur, solicited and encouraged the fight to occur and took part in the planning of the fight," Bellingham Police Lt. Claudia Murphy said.

An independent witness said she was driving northbound on James Street when she observed around 20 to 30 people fighting in the parking lot and then heard multiple gunshots.

Vera-Yrizarris said after the boy shot him, most of the gang members ran away.

The 15-year-old boy who Slayer allegedly gave the gun to and who allegedly shot Vera-Yrizarris has also been arrested. He has charges pending in Whatcom County Juvenile Court.

When detectives arrived at Slayer’s house to interview her, she acted like she had just awakened. She later admitted to never calling police about the shooting because “that’s not the way it works in the underworld,” records state.

During a search of her home, officers found an AK-47, an AR-15 and a bolt-action .22 in a safe. Slayer also told officers she had a 9 mm HiPoint and a .45-caliber HiPoint, which she keeps in a separate storage unit. Slayer said she often leaves the keys to the storage unit lying around, records state.

The 9 mm handgun suspected to be used in the fight was turned over to detectives later in the day.

Police are asking for anyone with information on any of the parties involved, what led up to the fight, the fight itself and its aftermath to call Detective Travis Hauri at 360-778-8791.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

Denver Pratt: 360-715-2236, @DenverPratt, David Rasbach: 360-715-2286
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