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No charges against self-defending shooter

Originally ran here as:
Charges won't be filed against man who shot teen in self defense
KHQ News
September 4, 2001

SPOKANE, WA, Sept. 4 - A man who admits he shot and killed a teenager won't be charged with any crime. Investigators now say 17-year-old Jacob Walton and several friends actually started the fight that led to Walton's death. As a result, no charges will be filed.

Walton's friends say there was no provocation when the unidentified man pulled a gun and shot the teen in a north Spokane parking lot. But a two month investigation proved different. Prosecutors say the man feared for his life and self defense was justified.

Investigators say 17-year-old Jacob Walton and several friends had thrown at least one beer can at the unidentified man's car. He stopped to call police but was followed to a north Spokane parking lot where Walton got out and hit him in the face. Prosecutors say the 28-year-old warned Walton and his friends to stay back.

"He drew his weapon, told the person don't make me shoot, the person kept coming," said Deputy Prosecutor Jack Driscoll. "In his mind he thought he was either going to be killed or have great personal injury, so he fired. Under the law we feel that was what a jury would find that we could not prove homicide beyond a reasonable doubt."

Walton's friends initially told a much different story: the teenager did nothing wrong and was only defending his girlfriend. But prosecutors say further investigation showed Walton and his friends to be the aggressors and that the man was clearly within his rights to defend himself. Driscoll says the teenagers were using drugs and alcohol at the time.

Concealed carry permit holder shooting ruled self-defense

Originally ran here
by The Associated Press
September 5, 2001

SPOKANE -- Spokane County prosecutors have declined to press charges against a man claiming self-defense in a road rage shooting that left a teenager dead in July.

Jack Driscoll, the county's chief criminal deputy prosecutor, said Tuesday that charges won't be filed because the victim, 17-year-old Jacob Walton, initiated the argument.

"It appeared that Walton went out of his way to confront the other person, driving around the block and coming back to the parking lot where the shooting happened, to confront the other person," Driscoll said.

The shooter's name has been withheld by investigators, in part because they believe he could be subject to retaliation.

Autopsy results indicate Walton had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 percent -- the legal limit is .08 percent -- and also had traces of marijuana in his blood at the time of the shooting, Driscoll said.

Walton was shot in the head at close range. The shooter was never arrested.

Spokane County sheriff's detectives said the shooting stemmed from an altercation between the drivers or occupants of two cars July 6.

Walton was riding in a white Nissan Sentra with four other people. Words were exchanged with a man who was driving by himself in a Honda Accord, court records indicate.

Both cars ended up a parking lot near the corner of Division and Francis in north Spokane after Walton allegedly threw a can of beer at the other car. Walton confronted the man and was shot after he punched the man in the face, fracturing his cheekbone, witnesses said.

Witnesses said Walton assaulted the man even though the man had displayed a handgun and warned him to stay back.

The shooter was carrying a handgun in a shoulder holster and had a permit for the weapon.

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