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Wife's shooting of abusive husband ruled self defense

Originally ran here as:
"Wife shoots LaCenter man in self-defense, detectives say"
by John Painter, Jr.
The Oregonian
December 04, 2001

LaCenter, Washington -- A LaCenter-area man was shot to death Sunday night by his wife after he broke down a bedroom door in an attempt to continue beating her, Clark County sheriff's detectives said.

Craig R. Swenson, 59, died at the scene from a gunshot to his chest, Detective Pat St. John said Monday.

He said Swenson had physically assaulted his wife, Cheryl, 55, and she had run into the master bedroom of their home in the 1400 block of Northeast 389th Street and locked the door.

Swenson broke down the door and was advancing on his wife, threatening to continue the beating, when she fired a shot from a .357-caliber Magnum handgun, St. John said.

The violent death is the second involving family members in Clark County in the past week.

On Nov. 27, Omar H. Malone, 19, was shot dead in his family's Lakeshore-area home. Sheriff's investigators said it appeared he attacked his sleeping father with a shovel.

During the ensuing fight between the two, the younger Malone was shot once in the head, officials said.

Burl Malone suffered head and lung injuries.

In Sunday's shooting, sheriff's deputies and LaCenter and Ridgefield police arrived at the Swenson home northeast of LaCenter at 6:15 p.m., investigators said. The couple moved to the area about two years ago from the Hillsboro area.

Cheryl Swenson told authorities her husband "had a history of beating her," St. John said. "She said that she wouldn't call 9-1-1, but would get away from him and stay away until he cooled down." He said they had been married 20 years.

Authorities say the situation appears to be a case of self-defense. St. John said no arrest is anticipated. However, after the investigation is complete, the file will be sent to the Clark County Prosecutor's Office for review.

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