JOYCE — The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office continued to investigate Tuesday a shooting west of Joyce that sent one man to a Seattle hospital Monday.
Sgt. John Hollis said a road rage incident led to Steve Thompson of Joyce, 62, telling deputies he shot Garry Edwards of Joyce, 46, in self-defense with a 9mm Springfield XD handgun.
The Clallam County Sheriff’s Office likely will recommend assault charges against Edwards.
“The facts and circumstances available to us at this time suggest [Thompson] acted in self-defense,” said Chief Criminal Deputy Brian King.
King said Tuesday that investigators have more questions and that the incident remains under investigation.
Edwards suffered a single gunshot to his upper left arm and chest, Hollis said. King said Edwards, who was initially transported to Olympic Medical Center, was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.
Edwards was listed in satisfactory condition Tuesday morning, according to hospital personnel. King said deputies attempted to interview him and his wife Monday.
The shooting was reported at about 4:50 p.m. Monday on the 100 block of Whiskey Creek Beach Road, about 18 miles west of Port Angeles off state Highway 112. Four deputies and one Lower Elwha Klallam Tribal police officer arrived at the scene at about 5:10 p.m.
When they arrived they were met with a chaotic scene that involved a vehicle that had been run off the roadway, a man who had been shot in his left bicep and several people and vehicles in the road.
King said Thompson was released because it appears he acted in self-defense, though the investigation will be forwarded to the Clallam County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office for a charging decision.
King said the incident appears to have started with Edwards’ belief that Thompson had been trespassing on his family’s property while hunting.
“Somehow Edwards received word Thompson was trespassing,” King said. “That’s something we’re still going to be working on.”
King said that investigators are checking GPS data for Thompson’s vehicle to determine where he has been in the past few days.
He said that Thompson said he was hunting on Merrill & Ring land in the area. It is currently muzzleloader elk season and a black powder rifle and hunting equipment were found in Thompson’s vehicle, according to King.
King said there’s no evidence that shows Thompson was trespassing Monday, but said he is suspected to have trespassed in the days prior.
Edwards’ adult son told investigators that Thompson had trespassed in the past and that Edwards went to confront him.
“It’s still our position that even if an individual is trespassing, it does not justify the events that transpired, regardless of if they were trespassing or not,” King said.
Thompson told investigators he was driving back to state Highway 112 when Edwards’ vehicle stopped in the middle of the road, blocking him.
Thompson said he drove around the vehicle and that Edwards followed him, eventually passing him in a no passing zone and sideswiping him, causing Thompson to lose control of his vehicle.
King said damage to Thompson’s and Edwards’ vehicles was consistent with Thompson’s claim that Edwards forced Thompson off of the road.
“According to Steve’s son … by the time Steve opened the door … Garry was at the door and started punching him and assaulting him,” Hollis said.
“After being rammed off the road and this guy attacking him, he was in fear of his life,” King said.
Thompson suffered bruises and cuts to his face, officials said.
Reporter Jesse Major can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 56250, or at [email protected].