Authorities think the man — firing his handgun at a thief who stole his Jeep — sent a bullet through the neighbor’s window, killing her.
Tobin Panton, 40, has been charged with first-degree manslaughter, accused of fatally striking his 61-year-old neighbor near Bonney Lake with a stray bullet when he fired his gun near her home Thursday, according to the Pierce County Prosecutor’s Office.
Authorities suspect Panton — firing his gun at his vehicle as it was being stolen — sent a bullet through the neighbor’s window two blocks away, fatally wounding her. The Pierce County Medical Examiner’s Office identified her as Linda Green.
“If you use deadly force it has to be reasonable under the circumstances,” Prosecutor Mark Lindquist said in a news release. “Generally speaking, in Washington you cannot use deadly force to stop a nonviolent crime.”
Panton’s bail has been set at $200,000, the release says.
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Panton told investigators that when he noticed someone driving his Jeep out of his driveway in the 12000 block of Prairie Ridge Drive East, he fired at the vehicle from his porch to stop the theft, the release says. He told investigators he fired until the gun was empty.
Later, a relative of Green’s called 911 to say he found her bleeding from her head on the bedroom floor, according to the Pierce County Sheriff’s Office. Medics took her to a hospital, where she later died.
Deputies later found a bullet hole in her window that faces Panton’s porch, the release says, as well as other “strike marks” from gunshots in the area.