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Man who fired shotgun on South Hill believed he had killed a burglar, records say

UPDATED: Wed., March 21, 2018, 9:38 a.m.

Court records indicate a man who fired a shotgun Friday night on the South Hill believed he had killed a burglar, although police found no evidence he was acting in self-defense.

Reports of a man firing a shotgun in the street drew a heavy police presence to the 4100 block of South Altamont Street shortly before 9 p.m. Friday. The SWAT team responded, and a police helicopter circled overhead.

Benjamin D. Rowbotham, 23, was arrested after the incident, and corrections officers found methamphetamine stashed in one of his socks while he was being booked into the Spokane County Jail.

According to court records, Rowbotham’s mother told police he had “become upset as he thought there was someone outside the listed residence with an assault rifle.” She then watched her son “yelling for someone to get off his property” before finding a shotgun in the basement and firing it while down there.

“After discharging the shotgun, the defendant came upstairs believing he killed someone,” court records state.

Meanwhile, a neighbor who lives directly across the street from Rowbotham told police he had stepped onto his porch after hearing what sounded like a gunshot outside.

The neighbor said he saw Rowbotham standing on his porch, shotgun in hand, “yelling about shooting a burglar,” according to court records. The neighbor “did not observe anyone else in the area.”

Rowbotham remained in jail Tuesday and faces charges of reckless endangerment, drug possession, unlawful possession of a firearm and illegal discharge of a firearm.

According to court records, he has a previous conviction for second-degree assault stemming from an incident in September. He got out of jail in January and remained on state supervision until his arrest Friday night.


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