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Saturday, March 28, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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News >  Crime/Public Safety

South Hill shooting began as argument between stepbrothers over shared van, documents say

UPDATED: Thu., Feb. 20, 2020

A 35-year-old shooting victim told police his stepbrother, George R. Ellis, 39, shot him in the back after an argument over the van they shared turned physical on Feb. 14, 2020 at the home where they live at 4120 E. 38th Ave., according to court documents. (Jared Brown / The Spokesman-Review)
A 35-year-old shooting victim told police his stepbrother, George R. Ellis, 39, shot him in the back after an argument over the van they shared turned physical on Feb. 14, 2020 at the home where they live at 4120 E. 38th Ave., according to court documents. (Jared Brown / The Spokesman-Review)

A man suspected of shooting his stepbrother Friday during an argument over a shared van was released from jail on his own recognizance on Tuesday.

The 35-year-old shooting victim told police his stepbrother, George R. Ellis, 39, shot him in the back after an argument over the van they shared turned physical, according to court documents. Ellis, the victim, Ellis’ father and a stepsister lived together in the South Hill home.

The victim said he pushed Ellis into a wall, damaging the sheetrock, when he thought he was going to hit him. The victim said he was leaving the room when he was shot in the back.

Ellis told police the two were facing one another and he shot his stepbrother in the chest, but medical personnel said the entry wound was in the back.

The victim said Ellis continued to point his gun at him while Ellis called 911 and he applied pressure to his own wound, court documents say. Medical personnel arrived after Ellis tried to help the victim.

Ellis told police he carried a handgun because he didn’t trust the victim, according to court documents. He said the victim is bigger than he and that he was being aggressive during the argument.

Police said they observed a “defect” in Ellis’ pocket that indicated he may have concealed the gun in his coat when he fired, according to court documents.

Ellis was being held on a $2,500 bond in Spokane County Jail after he was arrested on suspicion of first-degree domestic violence assault, according to Spokane police. But he was unable to post bond over the weekend and was released on Tuesday with the condition that he not return to his home with his stepbrother.

Ellis has no prior criminal record, according to court records. The victim was hospitalized with critical injuries after the shooting but was not listed as a patient at Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center on Wednesday.

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