A Chehalis man is facing first-degree assault charges for allegedly shooting at an adult man and a 12-year-old child who were fishing in Helmicks Pond northeast of Pe Ell on June 19.
The victims were reportedly fishing in the pond from the Willapa Hills Trail when the defendant, Joseph W. Tyler, 39, “started yelling at them” across the pond from his property in the 100 block of Mauerman Road, according to court documents.
Tyler told responding Lewis County Sheriff’s Office deputies that one of the victims shouted an obscene insult at him and stated “this comment ‘pissed him off,’” so he sent a friend over to go “diffuse the situation,” according to court documents.
The victims told deputies they were approached by a male subject “who advised they ignore the male across the pond,” reportedly saying “it was his friend, and that he was upset due to the fact he does not like people around the neighborhood.”
The victims reported that a short time later, they heard a gunshot from across the pond “and heard the bullet hit the water and the bank near his location.” The friend reportedly yelled “don’t, knock it off. I’m talking to them. It’s a kid, just a 12-year-old kid fishing,” according to court documents.
The victims reportedly ran back to their truck, where Tyler allegedly approached them and engaged the adult victim in a physical altercation.
The Lewis County Sheriff’s Office was involved after Tyler called to report the physical altercation. He reportedly told the responding deputies “he was target practicing and had confronted the subjects for fishing on his property,” according to court documents.
The victims reported they did not hear gunshots prior to the one that landed near them, according to court documents.
Tyler was arrested and was booked into the Lewis County Jail on June 19.
He was released following his preliminary court appearance on June 21 after he posted $50,000 bail.
His next court appearance is an arraignment hearing scheduled for Thursday, June 24.