Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Washington: Fatal shooting at campsite was self-defense, police say

Olympia, Washington

From the News Tribune of September 1, 2009
Fatal shooting at campsite was self-defense, police say

An Olympia man who was killed Saturday near his campsite at Wynoochee Lake was apparently shot by another camper in self-defense, the Grays Harbor County Sheriff’s Department said Monday.

The deceased man was identified as Westin Wolff, 25, of Olympia, said Rick Scott, Grays Harbor undersheriff. But Scott did not release the name of the alleged shooter.

“It appears at this juncture that the shooting itself was a legitimate act of self-defense,” Scott said.

Police said the shooting occurred after an argument about 1:30 a.m. Saturday near the shore of Wynoochee Lake, which is in Olympic National Forest northeast of Aberdeen. The conflict involved two different groups of campers, police said. Wolff was one of a party of three young men, and the other party was a family, Scott said.

He said the shooting did not occur at a formal campground; rather, it was a group of informal campsites along the lake near a boat launch off Forest Service Road 23. At least one other party – which wasn’t involved – was also in the area.

He said the parties involved did not know each other but gave no further details.

He declined to release any of the circumstances that led to the shooting, saying the investigation is ongoing. He said he hoped to complete the investigation this week, and then the case will be turned over to the Grays Harbor County prosecutor.

Ultimately, the prosecutor’s office will decide whether to prosecute the case.

“We’re keeping a lot of the specifics confidential,” Scott said.

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