A family feud between brothers that's been going on for more than a decade ended with a fatal shooting in Spokane Valley Tuesday when 22-year-old Ryan Ames shot and killed his half-brother David McCarthy.
McCarthy had worn out his welcome at his brother’s house after he allegedly assaulted his mother and father and brother several years ago. When McCarthy allegedly disregarded his little brother's orders not to come on the property, Ames blasted him with a shotgun.
It's not the first time neighbors had watched Ames and his big brother squabble in the front yard only this time there was a lot more than just shouting.
“Evidently two adult relatives were having some sort of confrontation in the front yard,” Spokane County Sheriff’s Deputy Craig Chamberlin said. “The suspect took a shotgun out of his vehicle at this residence and shot the victim in the abdomen.”
Witnesses ran to the mortally injured man while Ames rearmed himself with a .44 caliber pistol.
"All I hear is 'Yeah you better effing lay there, don't move,’" Ashland Lafortune said.
“I ran over and I kneeled down to him and kept shaking his arm to keep him awake and he went out a couple times," Alexis Perez said.
When Aames realized his brother was bleeding to death he ran inside the house and told dispatchers what had happened.
“The suspect actually stayed here, went inside and actually called 911. So we arrived on scene and were able to detain him and take him into custody rather quickly,” Chamberlin said.
Ames, who has confessed to the killing, told investigators that his brother has repeatedly threatened his family's safety and has battled mental health problems since he was a teenager.
“He was shouting 'That's what you get you 'B' don't threaten me anymore' because I guess he was telling me that he's threatened to slice his throat, slice his mom's throat," Perez said.
However, Major Crimes detectives say the victim was unarmed and that Ames' use of deadly force wasn't justified given the circumstances.
“The victim was not armed. The suspect was not presented with lethal force that would justify him using lethal force to protect himself or someone else,” Chamberlin explained.
So what do deputies say could have made this shooting a legal one? Well the law says you can only use deadly force when your life or someone else's life is in immediate and unavoidable jeopardy. In this case, Ames could have barricaded himself inside the house along with his mother and if McCarthy had forced his way in then he might have been justified opening fire.
Ames has hired a private attorney who's right in the middle of a trial right now and so his initial appearance has been delayed until Friday and so Ames will be held in jail without bond for the next two days.