Police: Night out ends in a fight, death of a Bellingham man and arrest of Blaine man

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The Bellingham Police Department enforces the law within Bellingham city limits.
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The Bellingham Police Department enforces the law within Bellingham city limits.

A 28-year-old Blaine man accused of killing another man in a fight in Bellingham was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder early Thursday morning, according to the Bellingham Police Department.

Shelby James Best was booked into Whatcom County Jail in connection with the death of 30-year-old Bellingham resident Joshua Paulley-Davenport.

Bellingham Police responded to the scene on the 1200 block of 24th Street at 11:56 p.m. Wednesday.

“Best and the victim had been socializing for several hours when a fight broke out between them. Best assaulted the victim, who fell to the ground unconscious and, despite medical intervention, died of his injuries,” Claudia Murphy, Bellingham Police spokeswoman, said in a release.

Here are the details, as reported by police:

The two men and a third person were socializing in the Fairhaven District on Wednesday night. They all returned to Paulley-Davenport’s house as the bars were closing. Best was supposed to spend the night.

The third person was in a different part of the house and heard the two men wrestling.

When the third person checked on the two men, Paulley-Davenport had a swollen left eye and told Best to leave.

Shortly after, the third person found Paulley-Davenport on the walkway outside the house, unconscious and bleeding.

Bellingham Police and Bellingham Fire Department medics who arrived tried to resuscitate Paulley-Davenport, but he died at the scene.

Police arrested Best about 4:50 a.m. Thursday as he got into his car parked near the Fairhaven District.

He was taken into custody without incident. “Best was found to have notable abrasions and cuts on his hands,” the release states.

According the Whatcom County Superior Court clerk, Best will make his first appearance in court on Friday, May 3.

Kie Relyea has been a reporter at The Bellingham Herald since 1997 and currently writes about social services and recreation in Whatcom County. She started her career in 1991 as a reporter and editor in Northern California.