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Oct. 3, 2022

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Man held on $2 million bail in Aug. 23 fatal shooting in Vancouver

By , Columbian Assistant Metro Editor

A Vancouver man is being held on $2 million bail, accused of fatally shooting a woman with whom he had been in a relationship, on the night of Aug. 23 near a gas station in central Vancouver.

The victim is identified in court records as 27-year-old Inessa G. Kryshtal.

Austin J. Navarro, 29, made a first appearance Monday in Clark County Superior Court on suspicion of second-degree domestic violence murder and unlawful possession of a firearm.

Navarro has five prior felony convictions, according to the prosecution, including attempting to elude, and 10 prior warrants.

He is scheduled to be arraigned Sept. 10.

Vancouver police responded at about 9:40 p.m. Aug. 23 to the Chevron gas station, 4100 E. Fourth Plain Blvd., in response to a 911 call for a welfare check. A woman, later identified as Kryshtal, was found slumped over inside a car. Medical personnel were called to the scene and determined she had suffered a gunshot wound to her upper right arm. She was pronounced dead at the scene, according to an affidavit of probable cause.

The Clark County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Kryshtal’s identity and that she had died from a gunshot wound. Her cause of death was listed as a homicide, court records say, meaning it resulted from another person’s deliberate action. The ruling does not make any judgments about criminal culpability.

Officers at the scene found a spent shell casing on the ground near the rear of Kryshtal’s car. Investigators later determined it was a 9 mm Winchester brand round. A box of 9 mm handgun ammunition was seen on the right front passenger’s seat, the affidavit states.

Surveillance footage from the Chevron showed Kryshtal arrive at 9:24 p.m. Her car drives north across the lot out of the camera’s view, court records say.

Kryshtal’s mother told police her daughter recently became involved with a man named “Austin.” Kryshtal’s friend, Holly Cayton, identified the man as Navarro and said they went to school together in Vancouver. Cayton said Kryshtal had previously told her that Navarro was violent toward her and threatened her with a large knife, according to the affidavit.

Investigators pulled up prior booking photos of Navarro, as well as photos from social media. They compared the photos with surveillance footage at the Chevron that showed a man, believed to be Navarro, inside the store at 9:18 p.m. The man is seen at 9:20 p.m. walking across the parking lot in the direction of Kryshtal’s car, court documents state.

Phone records show Navarro and Kryshtal began messaging around 9 p.m., according to the affidavit.

Navarro messaged Kryshtal stating: “I’ll wait or cause a big problem at your house. You got five minutes (expletive).” She replied three minutes later and said she’d have her mother call the police. Then, at 9:09 p.m. Kryshtal replied, “I’ll meet you at Chevron.” Four minutes later, she said, “I don’t get why you have to act like this, dude. All I wanted is to give you your (expletive) back and move on, and you’re freaking the (expletive) out. And for what?” He replied a minute later telling her to hurry up and get to the Chevron, court records show.

At 9:21 p.m., there was a nearly two-minute phone call between the two. Then, about 15 minutes later, 911 callers reported Kryshtal was having a medical episode, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said they requested assistance in locating Navarro from the U.S. Marshals Service. He was found at about 5:10 p.m. Friday at a Shell gas station, 1910 W. Fourth Plain Blvd.

Navarro reportedly ran from officers, who said it appeared he reached for a firearm in his waistband. He fell behind the gas station, got up and jumped over a fence, police said. He was subsequently taken into custody, the affidavit states.

Officers said they located a Glock 43 handgun — a 9 mm pistol with Winchester ammunition — where Navarro fell. The magazine was not fully loaded, court records state.

In an interview with investigators, Navarro allegedly admitted to possessing the handgun. He said he and Kryshtal met up at the Chevron gas station so he could get his property back. The two fought, he said, and he “ultimately stated he didn’t mean to and started crying,” the affidavit reads. Navarro said he was trying to scare Kryshtal. He then requested an attorney, court records say.


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