Fatal shooting was in defense

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Local Crime News

EPHRATA - Charges won't be filed in the case of an Aug. 31 shooting in Moses Lake.

Prosecutor Angus Lee stated the man who shot and killed Michael V. Elliot, 39, Moses Lake, was defending himself after Elliot reportedly assaulted him.

"In short, there is no evidence available for the state to establish a lack of self-defense," he wrote in a letter to the sheriff's office. "The shooter's action appeared to be justifiable and reasonable self-defense in the face of an armed and aggressive intoxicated felon with a long history of serious assaults."

The shooter, who was not identified, was living with his girlfriend and her 2-year-old child on McConnell Drive Northeast, doesn't have any criminal convictions and maintained a concealed pistol license, Lee stated.

Elliot and an unidentified man arrived at the house, looking for a person who didn't live at the residence. After the shooter told them the person wasn't there, they left.

"When the aggressors returned, they again told the shooter that they wanted to see the individual they were looking for and they believed he was there," Lee stated. "The shooter informed them that he was the only person there with the exception of his girlfriend and child."

After the men left, he told his girlfriend he was worried about their safety, Lee stated. Elliot and the other man returned a third time when the man was sitting on his motorcycle in the driveway.

"They approached him aggressively, breathing heavy, and said, 'I will give you one last chance to tell me the truth ... I don't want to have to go hands on,'" Lee wrote. "(Elliot) then, without provocation, punched the shooter in the face knocking him off his motorcycle and onto the ground. When the shooter stood up, he was punched in the face again and fell to the ground again."

After the second hit, the shooter felt he and the two other people in the residence were in danger, drew his sidearm and fired two rounds at Elliot, according the letter. After the shooting, the unidentified man ran away.

"The shooter waited for the police and placed his weapon down when they arrived," Lee wrote. "The shooter and his girlfriend were completely cooperative with the investigation of this matter and gave voluntary recorded statements. They also notified the police about this incident immediately after it occurred and gave permission to search their home, vehicles and yard."

Lee pointed out Elliot had brass knuckles, a knife and pepper spray on him at the time of the incident. Elliot had six assault convictions, two burglary convictions and multiple convictions for bail jumping, theft and drugs. He was also intoxicated at the time.

"All evidence shows that the shooter was lawfully in an area from which he had no duty to retreat when he was placed in danger of a serious assault ... and had a right to take reasonable steps to defend himself," Lee wrote. "The evidence shows the shooter believed that Aggressor 1 meant to do serious harm. This belief is supported by Aggressor 1's criminal history and the numerous weapons he possessed."

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