The 56-year-old Salkum man who shot and killed Travis Shive during a dispute in May will not be charged, according to Lewis County Prosecutor Jonathan Meyer.
The shooter, identified in investigation documents as Jack Ritter, acted in self defense, Meyer said.
“We are not going to file any charges. It appears that Mr. Shive was the aggressor and Mr. Ritter felt his safety was at risk and fired the shots that led to Mr. Shive’s death,” Meyer told The Chronicle Monday afternoon.
In the investigation records obtained by The Chronicle Friday through a public records request, Ritter indicated Shive saw his gun and lunged at him, attempting to wrestle the gun away.
After a brief fight, the man shot Shive, who died a few minutes later.
“He grabbed me and pushed me to the ground and had a hold, a firm hold of me with his right hand and was trying to wrestle the pistol out of my right hand with his left hand and I pointed it at his chest and shot him,” Ritter said in an interview with a detective.
The shooting on May 10 began when someone shot Shive’s black labrador retriever, Tuff, in its leg. When Shive, 28, learned his dog, which survived, was shot, he went to a white house on the 200 block of Stowell Road, where he thought the shooter lived.
Shive, however, was apparently at the wrong house. Ritter felt threatened and armed himself with a .380 semi-automatic handgun.
“The tragic thing was he went to the wrong house,” Meyer said. “He went to the wrong white house. People were trying to tell him and Mr. Ritter tried to tell him ‘you have the wrong house.’”
Unlike other questionable self defense cases, this incident had an obvious perceived danger that made Ritter’s actions reasonable, Meyer said.
“(Shive) is the one that came at Mr. Ritter. Mr. Ritter exited his home with a gun, which he is within his rights to do. When the struggle ensured, Mr. Ritter indicated he was in danger. This is what the self defense law was made to do, to protect people,” Meyer said.
An investigation is ongoing into who shot Tuff. The black labrador retriever was apparently shot with a .22 rifle, which did not match any weapon Ritter had in his home.
All of Ritter’s belongings seized for evidence will be returned, Meyer said.