EPHRATA – The Grant County prosecutor determined a sailor was acting in self-defense when he shot a man in an Airway Drive residence.
Prosecutor Angus Lee released a letter sent to the Grant County Sheriff’s Office stating he wasn’t going to file charges for the March 15 shooting.
The alleged incident started when a sailor with the U.S. Navy began having a relationship with a woman he met through an online dating service.
The woman had ended a relationship with a man who reportedly assaulted her for not cleaning the toilet. Lee stated the woman’s ex-boyfriend has multiple prior convictions, including one for theft.
The woman’s ex-boyfriend reportedly went to the woman’s residence on the evening of March 14, and found the sailor inside with her. The ex-boyfriend allegedly demanded the man leave, and the woman told her ex-boyfriend to leave.
“(The ex-boyfriend) went into the residence without permission,” Lee wrote. “He … confronted (the other man), who attempted to de-escalate the situation and calm (the man).”
The ex-boyfriend reportedly grabbed a fifth of rum and poured the alcohol into the sink and held the bottle like a hammer. He allegedly approached the sailor with the bottle and told him that he was going to “bust (him) upside the head.”
“At that point, (the sailor) was in fear that he was going to be struck in the head or neck with a large glass bottle,” Lee wrote. “It also appears he was concerned about what might happen to (the woman) if he left her alone with (her ex-boyfriend.)”
When the sailor drew his handgun, the other man said he didn’t care about the gun, and didn’t back away or leave the residence.
“At this point (the sailor), fired a single round in to (the ex-boyfriends) abdomen and then called 9-1-1 to report the situation,” according to the letter.
State law states such a shooting is justifiable when there is “reasonable ground” to believe a person is going to commit a felony or injure the person.
“The facts of this particular case make clear that (the ex-boyfriend) unlawfully entered the residence,” Lee wrote. “He then, without provocation from (the other man), and in a highly emotional state, threatened to strike (the sailor) in the head with a large glass bottle while he cornered (the man).”
Lee stated the actions appeared to be the only reasonable option to make sure he and the woman were safe.