Authorities don’t anticipate charging a 34-year-old Clark Fork woman who apparently shot and killed her alleged attacker Tuesday night.
Christopher Michael Schmidt, a 42-year-old registered sex offender living near Clark Fork, died Tuesday night after the woman shot him at close range, according to Bonner County Sheriff’s Capt. John Valdez.
“He grabbed her and physically attacked her and told her she was coming with him,” Valdez said. “There was a struggle and she couldn’t overcome him. All the physical evidence matches what she says, all down the line.”
Bonner County Prosecutor Phil Robinson said he hadn’t seen all the police reports on the shooting, but “I’m not sure we will ever file any charges.”
Idaho law says people cannot be tried for murder when defending themselves against aggravated assault, rape, murder, robbery or “other heinous crimes.”
“She’s made comments, as I understand, that she was in fear for her life,” Robinson said. Neither Robinson nor the Sheriff’s Office would release the woman’s name Thursday.
The incident began, Valdez said, when Schmidt stopped by the woman’s house east of Clark Fork at about 5 p.m. Tuesday to talk about job prospects. Schmidt used to work with the woman at IDA Inc., a machine shop in Heron, Mont. He was unemployed, Valdez said.
Schmidt is listed as a registered sex offender in Idaho after a 1989 conviction in Sonoma County, Calif., for assault to commit rape and sodomy, according to the Idaho State Police. His record also includes burglary, robbery, possession of marijuana, petty theft and failure to register as a sex offender, according to Valdez.
Schmidt stayed a few minutes, then left in his pickup. Later that evening, the woman and her roommate heard a noise outside their house and found Schmidt hiding behind a bush, Valdez said.
Schmidt told the women he’d been in Heron, had a few beers and was having engine trouble with his pickup on the way home, and needed a ride, Valdez said.
The woman gave Schmidt a lift home, but took a .380-caliber semi-automatic pistol with her, Valdez said.
Schmidt’s home, 265 E. Mountain View Road, is at the end of a road a few miles on the other side of Clark Fork.
In Schmidt’s driveway, he grabbed the woman, who shot him while inside the vehicle, Valdez said. The bullet was found lodged inside the door of the car.
The woman then ran to a neighbor’s house and called 911, Valdez said.
Robinson said it’s unlikely anyone would have heard the struggle in the car or the gunshot.
He noted that the woman had scrapes and scratches around her neck and collarbone. Valdez said Schmidt was a large man, and the woman was unlikely to have been able to struggle free.
Valdez said Schmidt’s autopsy found a high blood alcohol content and that the gunshot struck his heart. Investigators also found Schmidt’s pickup at the end of the woman’s driveway, and it appeared to be intentionally disabled, Valdez said.
As of Thursday afternoon, sheriff’s officials were still trying to contact Schmidt’s next of kin.
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