Officials in the US state of South Carolina say they will not pursue charges against a boater who rescued a drowning man, before shooting him dead.
Nathan Drew Morgan, 29, was shot by an unnamed 74-year old man last Tuesday after being pulled from Lake Keowee.
An autopsy report ruled Morgan had died from a single gunshot to the chest aboard the man’s pontoon boat.
But Oconee County Sheriff’s department said prosecutors had determined the shooting took place in self-defence.
In a short statement, officials said 10th Circuit Solicitor David Wagner made the decision after meeting with investigators and asked “for continued prayer for the family of Nathan Drew Morgan”.
Lake Keowee is an extremely dangerous man-made reservoir which has seen a number of fatalities over the past 30 years.
Officials from the sheriff’s department said Morgan and an unnamed woman were in distress when discovered, having fallen off a Jet Ski into the water.
Neither was wearing a life-jacket and the Jet Ski was circling.
“The man, who had been rescued, became agitated and began assaulting the couple on the pontoon,” officers said in an earlier statement. “Investigators have been told that the man may have wanted to get back to the Jet Ski.”
Sheriff Mike Crenshaw told the Journal of Seneca that Morgan may have been intoxicated, and that the elderly couple had claimed he wanted to get back onto his Jet Ski.
It was also alleged the women with Morgan pushed him back into the water in an attempt to defuse the situation, after which he was once again rescued by the 74-year-old man.
However, Morgan was subsequently shot by the man, who claimed he feared “for his and his wife’s life while being assaulted”.
The bizarre incident comes just three weeks after a jury in Florida voted to acquit a former police Swat commander who shot and killed a man who had thrown popcorn in his face during an altercation in a cinema.
Gun related violence has continued to climb in the US in recent years. In 2020, some 19,384 homicides involved a firearm, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).