Latest from The Spokesman-Review
COQUILLE, Ore. (AP) — A Douglas County man accused of aggravated murder has testified he was using methamphetamine throughout a weekend family trip to the coast and was feeling paranoid before shooting his mother-in-law’s 19-year-old husband and her 70-year-old former husband.
The World of Coos Bay reports that Timothy Henson of Myrtle Creek took the stand Tuesday.
He testified that he’d been in confrontations all weekend with Milton Leach, the former husband of 47-year-old Ruth Micheaux.
He’s accused of killing Leach and George Micheaux III on U.S. 101 north of Bandon in September.
Henson testified, in his words: “I didn’t know who was on my side and who wasn’t.”
Henson’s wife was injured in the gunfire but survived.
WARDEN, Wash. (MCT Regional News) — Grant County authorities are searching for Ramon O. Morfin in connection to the shooting Sunday night in Warden that left two injured.
Warden police have an arrest warrant for Morfin, 19, on suspicion of two counts of first degree assault. Morfin is about five feet six inches tall and reportedly has a tattoo on the right side of his forehead reading "F13," related to the Florencia 13 street gang, according to the sheriff’s office.
The two victims shot in Warden were also identified Monday.
LaShawne Bethea, 31, was shot in the leg and back after allegedly getting into a verbal altercation with Morfin at an apartment complex at 800 S. County Rd. in Warden about 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Morfin pulled out a handgun, allegedly shooting the intended victim, LaShawne Bethea, 31, in the leg and back. The other victim, identified as Derek Duplichan, 20, was struck by a stray bullet in the leg during the altercation. Both victims were treated at Samaritan Hospital in Moses Lake and released, according to Kyle Foreman, of the Sheriff’s Office.
Morfin reportedly fled the scene following the incident and is still at large.
Anyone who knows where Morfin is should contact the Warden Police Department at 509-762-1160.
COLVILLE, Wash. (AP) — The Stevens County sheriff’s office says deputies arrested 48-year-old Eric Harris on Monday night for investigation of murder in the shooting death of his 43-year-old brother Larch Harris at a home near Colville.
The sheriff’s office says the shooting took place Sunday as the brothers were arguing over a horse saddle. Their father recently died and they disagreed over the estate.
SHOOTING — Shooters trashing state lands and terrorizing adjacent private property owners are blasting their way out of a place to shoot.
And they're forcing unwanted restrictions on hunters.
Spokane County Commissioners are scheduled to consider proposals for two new no-shooting zones during their 2 p.m. meeting today.
The problems stem from state Department of Natural Resources lands off Koth Road near Newman Lake and off Starr Road south of Mica Peak.
See the map and proposal for the Koth Road no-shooting zone.
See the map and proposal for the Starr Road no-shooting zone.
See the overall Spokane County no-shooting zones map.
Property owners are calling for the action on the two new proposals after more than a year of effort to curb the abuse and safety concerns. Despite increased enforcement and citations for littering, damaging trees, using motorized vehicles in closed areas and failure to have a Discover Pass, shooters continued to trash the public land, said DNR lands manager Loren Torgerson.
“Organized shooting clubs tried to help out; they even went out and cleaned things up,” Torgerson said, but new messes were soon created.
“We tried to make it work, but it’s overwhelming.”
Proposals would allow shotgun shooting during appropriate hunting seasons but no rifle or pistol shooting at any time, said Bob Brueggeman, county engineer. Archery is OK.
Fish and Wildlife officials said they’d prefer a rule that allowed use of rifles for hunting. But Brueggeman said county ordinances do not allow that option to be considered in a no-shooting zone.
“Most shooters are responsible, but a subset of that group isn’t being responsible,” Torgerson said, noting they use garbage as targets and leave the trash. Semi-automatic weapons are used to blast and “saw down” trees, he said.
YAKIMA, Wash. (AP) — Yakima County sheriff’s detectives have arrested a 20-year-old woman in the death of a 23-year-old Sunnyside man whose body was found Friday in the trunk of his girlfriend’s car on the Yakama Nation reservation.
The sheriff’s office says the suspect was tracked through phone records.
The Yakima Herald-Republic reports (http://bit.ly/1a73LKw ) the sheriff’s office hasn’t said whether the woman arrested is the girlfriend.
Alberto Gabriel Martinez was last seen alive on Thursday night. The autopsy was scheduled for Monday.
WARDEN, Wash. (AP) — The Grant County sheriff’s office says two men were wounded in a shooting Sunday night at an apartment complex in Warden.
Two men were arguing when one pulled out a gun and wounded the other man and a bystander. The sheriff’s office says the injuries are not life-threatening.
The suspect fled and police are looking for him.
A man who allegedly shot his brother to death in Colville is still at large today.
Eric Harris, 48, is being sought by Stevens County sheriff’s deputies in connection with an early Sunday fight that left his brother, 43-year-old Larch Harris dead from a gunshot wound, authorities said.
When deputies arrived at Eric Harris’ home where witnesses reported the shooting occurred, the suspect had already left, according to the Stevens County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies are hoping to obtain a warrant for Eric Harris’ arrest, said Sgt. Loren Erdman with the sheriff’s office. Harris has an extensive criminal history, including several reports of assault, Erdman said.
"It’s definitely a possibility that he’s dangerous," he said. "We haven’t found the weapon he had, so there’s a possibility he’s armed."
Eric Harris is 5-foot-5 and 170 pounds. He has brown hair, hazel eyes and several tattoos. Anyone with information about his location is asked to call 911 or the Stevens County sheriff’s dispatch at (509) 684-5296.
SHOOTING — The buffalo are mostly gone, but the interest in the rifles and the skills to shoot them at long distances lives on at the Matthew Quigley Buffalo Rifle Match near Forsyth, Mont.
The annual event attracts shooters from around the world, but even the best shooters can be humbled by the prairie wind as the heavy bullets arc their way to targets 800 yards in the distance.
The video above is from the 2012 shoot.
The Quigley shoot is the granddaddy of buffalo rifle matches, drawing shooters even from overseas. A Pole is seeking to export the match style and name to his country. Keith Lay, a two-time match winner, spends two days driving north from his home in Bay Springs, Miss., just to shoot the Quigley. They all come for the same reason: to shoot rifles based on designs first crafted in the 1800s — long-shooting, large-caliber, single-shot rifles favored by sharpshooters in the Civil War and later by buffalo hunters.
The past two Quigley events have attracted more than 600 competitors of all ages and abilities. Over two days, the men, women and children who pay the $20 entry fee fire eight shots in a row at six steel targets ranging in distance from 350 to 805 yards. A loud ping registers a hit, the sweet sound of success to a shooter’s muffled ears.
SHOOTING — There's clearly a demand for good-quality, safe shooting facilities, as demonstrated by the interest in last weekend's reopening of the range at Farragut State Park.
Here's a media release with details on using the facility from Idaho Fish and Game.
Farragut Hunters in the Idaho Panhandle are happy about the reopening of a local shooting range where they can safely sight in their hunting rifles. The 100-yard range at Farragut State Park reopened to the public on Saturday, June 1. The range is west of Bayview, Idaho between the cities of Coeur d’Alene and Sandpoint.
The range is administered jointly by the Idaho Department of Fish and Game (IDFG) and the Idaho Department of Parks and Recreation (IDPR). Itis now open for public shooting the first and third Saturdays of each month through the summer on a first-come, first-served basis. Hours are 10am until 5pm.
There is a $5.00 range use fee in addition to the Farragut State Park entrance fee. Firearms are limited to rifles including .22 caliber, centerfire rifles less than .50 caliber, and muzzleloaders up to .54 caliber. For now, no handgun shooting is allowed.
The Farragut range was originally part of the Farragut Naval Training Station built in 1942. After the second world war, the range was turned over to the state and opened for use as a public shooting range.
The range was open to the public for about 60 years before being temporarily closed by court order over concerns about noise and safety when plans were announced to improve the range.
The IDFG has used $260,000 from hunting and fishing fines, timber sales and National Rifle Association grants to improve safety and reduce noise at the range. The work entailed lowering the range, building 12-foot berms to muffle noise and contain bullets, and installing overhead safety baffles.
During the time the range was closed, shooters were sighting in firearms in places where there were no specific safety rules, no established backstops, and no boundary fences or warning signs. Many of these places were on national forest or nearby state lands. Used targets and empty casings were left behind in frequently used locations and the areas became littered eyesores.
The reopened range has strict safety rules with on-site supervision by IDFG, high berms and sand pit backstops, noise and bullet containment baffles, perimeter fencing, and facilities for disposal of used targets and casings.
“We’re certainly pleased to reopen the Range,” said Fish and Game Director Virgil Moore. “Former range users will see a dramatic difference in the shooting venue, and neighbors can see the steps we’ve taken to improve safety and reduce noise,” Moore said.
The range is currently authorized for up to 500 shooter visits per year. A hearing is scheduled for later in the year about possibly removing that limit.
In the future, Fish and Game plans to complete work to open a 50-yard and a 200-yard shooting area of the range.
Field Reports: Oregon wolf dies from parvovirus …Two trumpeter pairs nesting at Turnbull … Orcas, salmon, elk on commission's agenda … State Parks offer free vehicle entry … Colville Project needs habitat helpers
SHOOTING — After years of legal wrangling that closed the facility in 2006, the beefed up and controversial shooting range at Farragut State Park is scheduled to reopen on Saturday, according to a preliminary story just posted by S-R North Idaho reporter Scott Maben.
See more in the paper tomorrow; and expect more legal wrangling to come.
SHOOTING — The U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia today dismissed a lawsuit brought by environmental groups seeking to force the Environmental Protection Agency to ban ammunition containing lead components.
The National Shooting Sports Foundation filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit in August. The court today agreed with NSSF that EPA does not have the authority to regulate traditional ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
The environmental groups are considering an appeal of today’s ruling, according to The Center for Biological Diversity, noting the federal judge dismissed the case on technical grounds but did not rule on the substance of the claim, namely whether EPA should regulate lead ammunition under the toxics law.
Read on for media releases on today's ruling from these two groups representing both sides of the issue:
SHOOTING — This court case — stemming in part from secondary deaths to creatures such as California condors that die after ingesting lead bullet fragments from wounded game — is worth watching.
Local note: The Loon Lake Loon Association is among the plaintiffs. The association was instrumental in getting fishing restrictions on lead weights and lures in more than a dozen northern Washington lakes where loons nest.
What: A federal court will hear arguments this week in a lawsuit filed by conservation groups against the Environmental Protection Agency for its refusal to address toxic lead in hunting ammunition that poisons and kills eagles, endangered condors and other wildlife as well as threatening human health. The court hearing will focus on motions to dismiss the lawsuit by the EPA, National Rifle Association and other gun groups; and whether the EPA has the authority under the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate toxic lead in ammunition.
When: Thursday, May 23, 2 p.m.
Where: U.S. District Court, 333 Constitution Avenue NW, Washington, D.C., in Courtroom 24A before Judge Emmet G. Sullivan
Background: In 2012, 100 organizations in 35 states formally petitioned the EPA to use the Toxic Substances Control Act to regulate the toxic components of hunting ammunition, including the lead bullets and shot projectiles that cause lead poisoning of wildlife.
When the EPA refused to evaluate the petition, the Trumpeter Swan Society, Cascades Raptor Center, Center for Biological Diversity, Loon Lake Loon Association, Preserve Our Wildlife, Tennessee Ornithological Society and Western Nebraska Resources Council filed a lawsuit in 2012.
The National Rifle Association, National Shooting Sports Foundation, Safari Club International and Association of Battery Recyclers intervened in the case, claiming the EPA does not have authority to regulate lead ammunition under the Toxic Substances Control Act.
After approving the Toxic Substances Control Act in 1976, the U.S. House of Representatives said in a report about the history and intent of the Act that it “does not exclude from regulation under the bill chemical components of ammunition which could be hazardous because of their chemical properties.” The EPA has already declared that lead is a toxic substance and taken steps to remove it from other products and uses.
More that 100 shooters from around the state participated in a round of sporting clays, the first of three shooting events taking place this weekend (May 3-5).
The WASTCP is a statewide nonprofit organization initiated originally in 2010 by Colville, Washington sportsmen, and is dedicated to introducing and coaching school-age youths in the supervised activity of clay target sports. The Program’s mission is to promote and perpetuate opportunities for young student athletes to safely and enjoyably participate and compete in high quality, team-based clays shooting sports led by trained adult coaches.
Read on for more details about this weekend's events and the 30 youth teams competing at Double Barrel as reported by Bob Dunn, a master sporting clays shooter from Spokane:
SHOOTING — Tom Knapp, 62, a modern shotgun virtuoso who revived exhibition shooting in the 1980s, died on April 26 in Minnesota.
Knapp, who performed in Spokane several times sponsored by Benelli, was especially notable for being the first to throw 10 clay targets in the air and blast them all before they could hit the ground.
- See the video above of Knapp's world-record-setting shoot with slow-mo verification.
A modern-day shooter who displayed more than a hint of Buffalo Bill’s Wild West showmanship, he also was an easy-going spokesman for the shooting sports who could let his shotgun do the talking, whether holding it upside down or above his head.
He started exhibition shooting in 1987.
In 2010, he retired after 20 years of shooting with Benelli, but he picked up again with CZ-USA.
A tip of the hat to one of the good guys.
Justin C. Werle appeared in court Wednesday afternoon and was given a $500,000 bond. Photo: Nicole Hensley
A missing work glove led to a shooting between a Browne’s Addition apartment tenant and his building’s handyman.
Spokane Police officers arrested Justin C. Werle Tuesday night after they closed off several blocks in the neighborhood and called a SWAT team to find the alleged shooter at the Pacific Terrace Apartments in the 2200 block of West Pacific.
The victim, identified as Zachary Bergstrom in court documents, told authorities a feud began earlier on Tuesday when Werle confronted him about a missing work glove, he told authorities. A shoving match started later that day between the two and Werle pulled out a gun and shot Bergstrom in the neck in the building’s alleyway.
Bergstrom clutched his neck and ran to the manager’s office where 911 was notified of the shooting, court documents show. He was alert and talking when medics took him to the hospital.
A K-9 unit dog tracked an unsuccessful lead to another apartment, officers said, but detectives called Werle’s mother, Donna Werle, and learned he wasn’t there.
She told detectives Werle called her and said he did not want to be taken alive and would shoot himself, but she convinced him to wait for police at her home. Officers found Werle walking near 13th Avenue and Coeur d’Alene Street.
SHOOTING — Just in case you'd planned to take your kid out target shooting with a small-caliber rifle this weekend, you'd better have your own hoarded supply of ammunition.
Dan Hansen had that in mind when he went shopping the other day.
The photo above indicates the lack of ammo he found on the .22 caliber shelf at Cabela's.
CONSERVATION — A two-hour fun shoot plus demonstrations on boating safety, retriever handling and using decoys use demonstrations will be featured at a March 24 fund-raising event at the Colton Boosters Gun Club sponsored by the Palouse Chapter of Ducks Unlimited.
A duck calling lesson for kids also is planned.
The activities will start at 1:30 p.m. Porky’s Pit Barbeque of Pullman serve pulled pork and chicken at 4 p.m., followed by the Ducks Unlimited raffles and auctions. The event will wrap up by 6 p.m.
A 25-bird round of trap costs $2.50 for kids and $3.75 for adults; the youngsters will have their own shooting line and coaches. Shooting will start by 2pm and end at 3:30pm.
“We are hoping to have some other outdoor demonstrations as well, perhaps bird-watching, bow-hunting or fishing clubs will participate,” says DU District Chair Joe Ford. “There’s a lot of ways to have fun outdoors, and DU projects benefit over 900 species of fish and wildlife. It’s so much more than just ducks!”
After the guns go quiet at 3:30, the Greenwing kids will get a lesson in calling waterfowl, followed by a brief kids calling contest (calls are provided). There will also be a demonstration of hunting dog work.
Adult beverages will be available from the Colton Boosters Club after the fun shoot.
Admission: $40 for a single adult, $70 per couple, and $30 for kids under 17.
- The price includes DU membership and a DU cap, as well as dinner. Shooting fees are collected from participants by the gun club.
Tickets will be available through the national DU website, or by calling (509) 288- 7013 or (541) 979-9025.
HUNTING — Wyoming hunters could use sound suppressors on firearms for all types of hunting under a bill that cleared the state House of Representatives on Wednesday, according to the Casper Star-Tribune.
The House stripped an amendment it had adopted earlier this week that would have allowed silencers for hunting predators and small game but not for big game species such as elk and deer. It passed the final bill 44-14.
The measure earlier cleared the Senate and now heads to Gov. Matt Mead for his consideration.
HUNTING — What are the chances that Wyoming legislators will listen to wildlife enforcement professionals and landowners and keep rifle sound supressors off-limits for hunting?
"The suppressors themselves might not be a total fair chase issue, but when you're talking about extremely long range rifles now, and special high powered scopes, and range finders, and now you throw suppressors in, you're starting to get into a situation where, are you hunting or are you just killing?. And we feel that suppressors are just another step in the wrong direction for that. And we feel it's an issue for the future of hunting."
Roger A. Bredehoft, lobbyist for the Wyoming Game Wardens Association, speaking against legislation that would allow hunters to use silencers on their rifles. - Casper Star-Tribune
SHOOTING — It's interesting if not disturbing that the discussion over guns has prompted some people among their group of circled wagons to excuse poor gun handling.
In my experience at the Spokane Gun Club or Spokane Rifle Club, somebody would quickly step forward to correct a person for poor muzzle control. What's wrong with doing same in the media?
This woman does not know where that gun is pointing because it's behind her and out of her control. Bolt is closed. End of point.
This obervation caused some commentors to cast aspersions from their narrowly defined and propagandized vision of the media, whatever "the media" are.
But back to the point:
Being a gun rights advocate doesn't mean you should slack off on offering reminders and enforcing points of safe gun handling with others around you, whether it's at home, in a hunting situation or at a 2nd Amendment rally.
SHOOTING — The Spokesman-Review photo above from Friday's gun rights rally in Olympia shows an appalling lack of muzzle control, with a firearm being carried in an unsafe manner.
That lady would be booted out of my elk camp, or forced to eat my cooking as punishment.
It's a reminder that under our current system, the 2nd Amendment right to bear arms is not backed up by a requirement for responsibility or safety.
I see signs here of a poorly regulated militia.
SHOOTING — A tip of the hat to a Wyoming newspaper editorial for standing up in the volatile world of firearms debate to call for reasonable limits that would help wildlife enforcement.
The Wyoming House's decision to kill a bill that would have allowed hunters to use sound supressors on their guns seemed like the right decision, but the Senate has reworked to legislation to make it even worse. —Casper Star-Tribune
IN MONTANA, however, the state House of Representatives Tuesday voted 68-32 to allow the use of rifle silencers while hunting wolves after the end of the general elk and deer season.
Supporters said ownership of silencers is highly regulated by the federal government, ensuring against abuse, and argued they would make for a quieter hunting experience. Opponents unsuccessfully argued that landowners should be able to hear where shots are being fired from.
PUBLIC LANDS — Target shooters aiming at exploding targets last fall ignited the Goat Fire that burned 7,400 acres from Sept. 15 through early November and made life hell for Wenatchee region residents, according to a U.S. Forest Service report released today.
No arrests have been made, but the investigation continues.
Read on for the media release from the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.
SHOOTING — Hunters and wildlife conservation groups are finding it difficult to stay out of the nation's gun control controversies.
Even the Rocky Mountain Elk Foundation felt pressure from the gun lobby to pull out of a huge sportsmen's show in the East when the show organizers prohibited exhibits by makers of AR-15 assault-style rifles.
The site of the Reed Exhibitions show in Pennsylvania is 250 miles from the site of the Dec. 14 Sandy Hook Elementary School shootings in Connecticut.
Click here for a localized story on RMEF and the National Wild Turkey Federation by Eric Barker of the Lewiston Tribune.
Click "continue reading" to see an Outdoor Wire industry perspective posted Jan. 25, with insight into the troubles for small outdoor businesses caused by the sportsman show boycott.
SHOOTING – Clubs from around the region are registering for The Spokesman-Review Trapshoot, celebrating the 95th year of the annual winter event.
Participants shoot their 25 target rounds each Sunday for eight weeks at their own clubs in Washington, Idaho and Montana and email their results, which are compiled into standings on the newspaper’s Sports webpage.
The competition starts Jan. 6. (NOTE: I reported the wrong date earlier in this post.)
Info: email email@example.com.
GUNS — The Valley White Elephant Store sold out its inventory of semi-automatic rifles and clips today, according to a clerk who called in the news this afternoon.
Personally, I have enough firearms. I'd rather spend more money on fishing tackle, and give teachers a raise.
HUNTING — Wyoming lawmakers will decide in coming months whether to follow a growing national trend and allow the use of silencers on hunting guns — a practice already permitted in 39 states.
The law is being promoted by companies that make the silencers, and as you'd expect, they say there's no reason for a ban on silencers.
I beg to differ.
I've read and written hundreds of stories about poaching. A common thread in the successful prosecution of those criminals is that nearby landowners or witnesses were alerted to the illegal activity by hearing the report of the firearms.
The story of a dog killed near Newman Lake recently help's illustrate the point.
The public cannot continue giving poachers the edge on law enforcement and expect officers to hold the tide in the favor of wildlife.
Silencers are unnecessary for hunters, but for poachers, they're a dream come true.
HUNTING — Idaho Fish and Game answers a question that's probably important to an share of my readers, the proportion of which we will keep to ourselves:
Ask Fish and Game: Archery for Felons?
Q. Can a felon hunt with a bow in Idaho?
A. It depends on the felony. Under Idaho law, anyone convicted of any of 36 felonies may not own, use or carry a firearm, which the law defines as “any weapon from which a shot, projectile or other object may be discharged by force of combustion, explosive, gas and/or mechanical means, whether operable or inoperable.” That would include a bow (and muzzleloader equipment).
The right can under some circumstances be restored, unless the crime was murder in the first or second degree, or if conviction included the use of a firearm in the commission of any the listed felonies.
(For a list of felonies see Idaho Code Title 18, Chapter 3, section 18-310.)
STATE LANDS — Shooters are creating a safety hazard and trashing a section of state land near Newman Lake, Department of Natural Resources officials say.
Complaints from area landowners have prompted more enforcement and citations for littering, using motorized vehicles in closed areas and failure to have a Discover Pass, said Loren Torgerson of the agency’s northeastern Washington staff.
The property– section 36 off Koth Road just northeast of Newman Lake – has been promoted as a good place to shoot in blogs and brochures left at gun shops, including Cabela’s, Torgerson said.
“Most shooters are responsible, but a subset of that group isn’t being responsible,” he said. Shooters have been using garbage as targets and leaving the trash as well as using semi-automatic weapons to blast and “saw down” cedar trees, he said.
Washington Fish and Wildlife police and Spokane County Sheriff’s Department have been assisting the DNR’s one enforcement officer covering seven counties, he said.
“Citations have been written and we’re starting to see a reduction in the number of bad actors up there,” he said.
Improving barriers to driving off the main road is helping with the problem, he said.
DNR has been working with the county’s shooting area advisory committee to consider a petition that would close the area to shooting, he said.
“We certainly want holistic view of the issue. We know that closing one area to shooting simply moves the problem somewhere else,” he said.
“Ultimately the community needs to look at the options.”