Vancouver man gets 3 1/2 years for shotgun shooting

By Jerzy Shedlock, Columbian staff writer

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A 26-year-old Vancouver man was sentenced Friday to 3½ years in prison after pleading guilty to second-degree assault in a September shooting of a neighbor’s acquaintance with a shotgun.

“I had to protect my family,” Joseph Jordan Carswell said in Clark County Superior Court. “I made a bad choice, and it won’t happen again.”

Carswell was at home with his girlfriend at 1910 Todd Road at about 3 p.m. Sept. 14, when he heard an altercation outside, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in the case.

Defense attorney Ed Dunkerly said the victim, Eugene Waldo, had come to the home because another tenant apparently owed him money. Waldo was confronted by Carswell and Carswell’s girlfriend because “no one at the address wanted him there. … He was not wanted in the area,” he said.

Senior Deputy Prosecutor Kasey Vu said the confrontation led to Carswell retrieving a shotgun and firing upon Waldo when the shooting victim walked toward the gate of the property and Carswell’s girlfriend. The buckshot from the 20-gauge shotgun struck Waldo in the left arm, Vu said.

The probable cause affidavit said the investigating officer found Waldo was not armed and made no indication verbally or otherwise that he intended to hurt or assault the couple.

According to a statement read to the court by victim advocate Mary Todd, Waldo told Carswell, “Shoot me,” and then he was shot.

Judge Gregory Gonzales said Carswell’s comments, and the description of the incident by Dunkerly, were “hogwash.” Gonzales said Carswell could have called the police and filed a restraining order against Waldo.

Carswell was originally charged with first-degree assault, but the more serious charge was reduced when prosecutors amended the charging information, Vu said.

Carswell received 30 months on the reduced assault charge. The judge added an additional year of prison time because Carswell used a deadly weapon in the incident. If he had taken the case to trial, Carswell would have a faced a maximum sentence of 10 years.

Carswell will receive credit for the time he has served since his arrest, the attorneys said.