(Update: DA John Hummel provides details of accidental shooting)
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) – A 39-year-old Bend man who was living out of his car was charged with negligent wounding of another Wednesday in the fatal, accidental shooting of a Bend man while target shooting at Mayfield Pond late last month. Deschutes County District Attorney John Hummel outlined what happened as he weighs criminal charges.
Over the past two weeks, Deschutes County sheriff’s detectives developed a person of interest in the June 30 shooting at the popular recreation spot east of Bend that claimed the life of Neil Martell, 53, who was camping with a friend near the pond when he was killed, Detective Sergeant Troy Gotchy said.
Detectives also located evidence linking the man to the shooting and learned he was living out of his car in the area of Stevens Road and 27th Street in southeast Bend, Gotchy said.
Around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday, detectives and members of the sheriff’s office SWAT team served a search warrant on the man and his vehicle, and took him into custody without incident, the detective said.
The man was cited and released on charges of negligent wounding of another and unlawful use of a weapon, Gotchy said.
Detectives have been working closely with the county District Attorney’s Office on the case and that office will be reviewing the case for any other possible charges, Gotchy added.
Hummel provided more details about the shooting to NewsChannel 21, calling it “one of the rare criminal cases in which the facts are not in dispute.”
The DA said the man "was target shooting in an area where people have been target shooting for years. He was shooting into a berm that target shooters use as a backstop."
"Unbeknownst to him, Neil Martell of Bend, and a friend, were camping behind the berm, approximately 250 yards from where (he) was shooting," Hummel said.
"When Martell and his friend heard the shooting, they walked from behind the berm to warn the shooter that they were back there," he said. "Tragically, when Martell emerged from behind the berm, while still obscured from (the shooter's) view by trees, (Martell) was struck by a bullet fired by (the shooter). Martell was approximately 190 yards away from (the shooter) when he was struck."
Hummel said the target shooter "did not see Martell when he fired the shot that struck him. Martell and his friend did not see (the shooter when he) fired the shot that struck Martell."
"While (the shooter) did not intentionally shoot Martell, I am reviewing the matter to determine whether the shooting was negligent, and thus criminal," Hummel said, adding that there has been no evidence drugs or alcohol were a factor.