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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Guns found on houseboat

WSP probe of shooting by ranger leads to seizure of weapons

Washington State Patrol detectives seized two guns from a houseboat where a National Park Service ranger shot and wounded a 43-year-old Kettle Falls man and used a stun gun and pepper spray on the boat’s owner Saturday night.

More details are emerging about the violent struggle aboard the houseboat moored at the Kettle River Campground that included a ranger getting shoved off a gangplank and the shooting of Casey Hartinger as his family says his 9-year-old son was nearby.

A search of the 52-foot vessel, named “Strong Spirits,” yielded a Walther P22 handgun and an FN Herstal firearm, along with Taser components rangers said they used against Michael Sublie, 41, who is accused of being drunk and unruly after rangers confronted him about a noise complaint from the campground shore.

The identity of the rangers is being withheld.

Hartinger, a friend of Sublie’s, went to the houseboat party with his son and 13-year-old daughter, according to family members.

Hartinger was released from Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center on Monday afternoon, according to family members. His father, Bob Hartinger, said Casey Hartinger’s son was standing near him when the ranger fired.

Casey Hartinger has not been arrested but may face assault charges in connection with the encounter, court documents suggest.

Family members said Monday that Hartinger and Sublie were not armed when contacted by rangers. Documents filed Tuesday do not specify where on the houseboat the weapons were found, nor do they say what specifically prompted the shooting.

The Stevens County Sheriff’s Office, U.S. Border Patrol and Kettle Falls Police Department all responded to the shots-fired call shortly after it was radioed in around 10:26 p.m. Saturday, according to court records. The State Patrol also is investigating.

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