NORDLAND — A 24-year-old Nordland man is dead and a 59-year-old Nordland man is in custody for investigation of first-degree murder and fourth-degree assault after a Wednesday evening dispute at a Marrowstone Island residence ended in gunfire, according to the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office.
Bail has been set at $200,000 for John Paul Beckmeyer.
When they arrived at 5:43 p.m. Wednesday, deputies found James McDonald with at least one gunshot wound lying unresponsive on the ground outside a fifth-wheel trailer in the 200 block of Griffith Point Road in Nordland.
Paramedics confirmed McDonald was deceased, according to a probable cause report written by Sheriff’s Deputy Art Frank.
In a Thursday morning Facebook post, the Sheriff’s Office said McDonald had been shot in the chest.
Deputies found Beckmeyer inside the fifth-wheel trailer with a firearm before taking him into custody, according to the report.
Saying he could not stand up due to a previous neck and back injury, Beckmeyer was transported to Jefferson Healthcare hospital in Port Townsend before he was booked into the Jefferson County Jail in Port Hadlock at 11:14 p.m.
Beckmeyer appeared Thursday before Jefferson County Superior Court Judge Keith Harper, who set bail and granted prosecutors 72 hours to file formal charges.
Chris Ashcraft, chief criminal deputy prosecutor, said he expects to file charges during an 11:30 a.m. hearing Monday.
McDonald and an adult female identified only as Benson, both of whom had been living in a house on the property with Benson’s grandfather, were outside barbecuing and drinking alcohol with Beckmeyer and his girlfriend, Danielle Boucher, both of whom live in the trailer, according to the report.
Beckmeyer allegedly complained to Boucher that her radio was too loud and asked her to turn it down. When she didn’t, Beckmeyer allegedly struck Boucher in the face with his hand, prompting Benson and McDonald to tell Beckmeyer not to hit a woman, according to the report.
Beckmeyer then walked into the trailer, allegedly saying he was going to get his gun. McDonald walked into the house and returned minutes later with an open double-barrel shotgun, indicating it could not readily be fired, according to the report.
Beckmeyer allegedly fired several shots from inside the trailer, striking McDonald, who was standing near Benson and Boucher, at least once, according to the report.
Frank reported seeing additional bullet holes in the side of the trailer.
Upon his arrest, Beckmeyer allegedly told deputies he shot several times in the direction of McDonald, who reportedly never fired his weapon.
Deputies, Port Townsend police and State Patrol troopers continued their on-scene investigation Thursday. The incident was initially reported at 5:32 p.m. Wednesday by Benson.
A GoFundMe page for James Lee has been set up by McDonald’s father, Shane McDonald. According to that page, McDonald had been living in Washington for about 3½ years.
“We were saving money to go see him, and now I can’t even get there to do funeral arrangements,” Shane McDonald wrote on the page, adding that his wife as well as McDonald’s two brothers and younger sister live in the Pensacola, Fla., area.
As of Thursday afternoon, the online fundraiser had received $1,527 of its $10,000 goal from 31 donors.
Jefferson County reporter Nicholas Johnson can be reached by email at [email protected].