Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Salem, Oregon

From the Salem Statesman Journal of April 26, 2006
Salem police say shooting death likely self-defense

Investigators say a 300-pound man broke down a door, charged couple

What started as an argument involving a woman, her estranged boyfriend and her current boyfriend ended with the former boyfriend shot dead Monday night, Salem police said.

Jason Benjamin Scott, 31, the former boyfriend of Diana Carol Rennels, 26, was found dead by police about 9:35 p.m. at 2375 Coral Ave. NE.

Police said Sean C. Dougherty, 38, Rennels' current boyfriend, who lives with her at the northeast Salem apartment, shot Scott after the 6-foot-4, 300-pound man broke through the front door of Rennels' apartment.

Three children were in the apartment at the time of the shooting and were not injured, police said.

Police are investigating the shooting, Lt. Jim Anglemier said, and the case will be referred to the Marion County District Attorney's Office. Deputy District Attorney Courtland Geyer said the case will be reviewed to determine whether charges should be filed or to classify it as justifiable homicide.

Anglemier said an initial investigation indicated that Dougherty and Rennels feared for their safety.

"After investigating the scene and interviewing the residents of the apartment, we determined the shooting was in self-defense," Anglemier said.

Investigators said the altercation began when Rennels and Scott got into a telephone argument about their 2-year-old son, of whom they share custody.

Scott had cared for his son during the weekend, Anglemier said, and the telephone argument began after he had dropped the boy off at Rennels' apartment Monday evening. The apartment is part of the Lancaster Commons complex of about 100 units.

Scott lived at 3878 Wilma Court NE, about two miles from Rennels' apartment. It wasn't clear Tuesday whether he was calling from the Wilma Court address. During the argument, police said, Dougherty got on the phone and had words with Scott, prompting Scott to come back to the apartment to confront the couple.

Dougherty and Rennels told police that when Scott arrived, he forced his way into their apartment and charged at them as they were seated on a couch. Dougherty picked up a handgun owned by Rennels and fired several shots at Scott, hitting him once in the upper torso, Anglemier said.

"He was a pretty big guy," Anglemier said of Scott. "He was coming at them at a pretty fast pace."

Rennels and Scott broke up last summer and had been having on-again, off-again issues, Anglemier said.
Justifiable-homicide cases are not unheard of in Marion County.

In 2002, a grand jury found that a shooting in Woodburn was justified. Esterbel Rios-Gomez, 22, was shot with a hunting rifle by homeowner Paciano Reyes-Vieyra when Rios-Gomez went to Reyes-Vieyra's residence twice one morning. Rios-Gomez threatened to kill Reyes-Vieyra and his family unless he could see his former girlfriend, who was a relative of Reyes-Vieyra and living at the home. Rios-Gomez and the girlfriend had had a child together.

In 2003, Salem homeowner Linn Stordahl shot Anthony Choate, 16, of Salem, whom Stordahl discovered in his garage after Choate set a box on fire.

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