A man is being charged with murder after shooting a stranger he found using the shower on one of his Washington properties on Saturday morning. Mason County resident Bruce Fanning discovered his door kicked in and walked through the building to find 31-year-old Nathaniel Joseph Rosa taking a shower. The New York Times reports that Rosa is from the Washington city of Bothell, which is about a two hour drive from the relatively rural area where the shooting took place.
The New York Daily News says Rosa worked as an elementary school assistant with special needs kids. Superintendent Michelle Reid released a statement saying, "Nate was a compassionate and dedicated educator who made a difference in the lives of many and will be dearly missed. I trust that the gift of his contagious smile and exuberant approach to learning will live on."
It’s unclear why Rosa had broken into the property, but Fanning indicated to authorities that he thought Rosa was drunk.
Washington has a version of Stand your Ground Laws, meaning a property owner is rarely charged for attacking a trespasser because they are “protecting by any reasonable means necessary, himself or herself, his or her family, or his or her real or personal property.”
Fanning’s case is unique.
After discovering Rosa in the shower, naked, they apparently had some sort of verbal spat. At that point, Fanning exited, went to his other house to retrieve a handgun, then shot through the curtain four times, killing Rosa. Only then did he call the police. Lt. Travis Adams of the Mason County Sheriff’s Office told reporters, “All the information that we have indicates that the guy was undressed, in the shower, taking a shower.”
Despite self-defense laws, homeowners are still barred from “using more force than is necessary.” In this case, investigators believe that Fanning escalated to violence unnecessarily. If, however, he is found not guilty, he will be reimbursed for all the legal proceedings.