Young father shot and killed in Bellingham, family pleading for answers

A family is pleading for answers after their beloved father, son and partner was killed in cold blood in Bellingham earlier this week. 

Officers were called just after 3:00 a.m. to reports of shots fired in a wooded area on Tull Rd, just off Kellogg Rd near Bellingham’s Cordata neighborhood.

Authorities say when they arrived, they found a person suffering from a gunshot wound who was "loaded into a cart." A group of people surrounded the victim and appeared to be helping him, but would not identify themselves to officers.

The victim was taken to the hospital, but he later died from his injuries.

Police then served search warrants to investigate the wooded area, which is private property. Bellingham SWAT was called to assist, and police used K9 units and a drone to search for victims and evidence.

Authorities believe they found the location where the shooting occurred, but did not say if they identified a suspect.

The victim was identified as 30-year-old Zachariah Janusiewicz. 

His family told FOX 13 that they don't know why he was out where he was the night he got shot. 

Both his mother, Kathleen Kloep, and partner of 10 years, Alisha Ruiz, are reeling from his unexpected death. They say they know someone knows something and are pleading with the suspects or witnesses to come forward.

"It's every parent's worst nightmare, and it should not have happened," Kloep said. 

Ruiz says Zach had a goal to open a Christian-based rehab for all of those who are in addiction and in need. He wanted to save his community here and in Alaska.

"We do not know why he was there that night, but Zachariah loved all and wanted to help and heal the community. He was going to save the community and bring them to god. This was always our plan as a family," she said.

Ruiz and Janusiewicz share a 7-year-old child. 

"He needs to know, that whoever did this, we have found them and gone forward, and we know what's going on. We just need to know what's happening," Ruiz said about their young son going forward with his father's unsolved death. "We don't know what to say or what to do." 

The family has set up a GoFundMe for funeral expenses. 


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Anyone with information on the shooting is urged to contact Bellingham Police detectives at (360) 778-8770, or submit a tip to the Bellingham Police website, referencing case number 24B20913.

Crime Stoppers is also offering a $1,000 reward for information that leads to an arrest. You can submit an anonymous tip on the P3 Tips App or by calling 1-800-222-TIPS.