Vancouver man accused of shooting roommate with BB gun appears in court

He had been living with girlfriend, her father for about two weeks

By Paris Achen, Columbian courts reporter

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A Vancouver man appeared in Clark County Superior Court today on an accusation he shot his girlfriend's father five times Tuesday with a BB gun following an altercation.

Neal Panther Stillwell, 25, entered the courtroom in shackles and had black-and-blue bruises all over his face.

The victim, James Riddell, was treated at a local hospital for injuries to his stomach, arms and neck. None of the injuries were life-threatening.

Stillwell faces a charge of third-degree assault domestic violence at his Aug. 7 arraignment. Vancouver police arrested him Tuesday on suspicion of second-degree assault, but Judge Robert Lewis didn't find probable cause for that more serious crime. Lewis held him on $15,000 bail and appointed Vancouver attorney Ed Dunkerly to defend him.

Vancouver police responded to the Harney Heights neighborhood around 4 p.m. Tuesday on a report of a weapons disturbance possibly involving a black handgun. One neighborhood resident who called 911 reported seeing a man with long black hair throwing a gun into the bushes outside 3816 E. 14th St. The weapon turned out to be a BB gun.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Stillwell and Riddell engaged in an altercation Tuesday over an issue related to the victim's daughter, Shannon Riddell. Stillwell, who has been unemployed for about six years, had been living with Shannon and James Riddell for about two weeks, according to court documents.

The affidavit says Stillwell told police that James Riddell entered his bedroom and began arguing with him. When Riddell punched him in the face, Stillwell grabbed a CO2 air BB gun he had in his closet, Stillwell said. He said the gun accidentally went off while the two men were struggling against each other.

Riddell said he didn't punch Stillwell until he saw Stillwell was armed, at which time he punched Stillwell in self-defense.

Paris Achen: 360-735-4551; http://twitter.com/Col_Courts; http://facebook.com/ColTrends; paris.achen@columbian.com