An assault charge was dropped Tuesday against a man who shot another man in the chest following an altercation in a Washougal intersection in March 2016.
Trevor Hauzenberger, 24, of Vancouver had been charged with first-degree assault in Clark County Superior Court stemming from the shooting, which he argued was done in self-defense.
The prosecution dismissed the charge without prejudice — meaning it could re-file the charge within the three-year statute of limitation. Hauzenberger’s defense attorney, Angus Lee, said he thinks it’s highly unlikely that will happen.
“The prosecution did the absolutely right and just thing by dismissing this case,” Lee said.
Deputy Prosecutor James Smith said that in spite of the dismissal, the prosecution does not condone Hauzenberger’s actions.
But state law says that a person is allowed to use force against another in certain circumstances, including in self-defense. And there is no legal obligation for a person to retreat.
Washougal police responded to 27th and F streets about 9:45 p.m. March 31, 2016, for a report of shots fired. When they arrived, they found Tyler G. Davis, then 23, lying in the road with a gunshot wound to the chest, according to the Washougal Police Department.
Davis had intervened in a dispute between Hauzenberger and Haley Hauzenberger before he was shot, according to a probable cause affidavit filed in Superior Court.
Bystanders and officers administered first aid until medical personnel arrived, police said, and Davis was taken to PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver, where he underwent more than one surgery. Court records show Davis suffered several lacerated veins and arteries and a fractured spine.
Smith said Tuesday that Davis still suffers from significant health issues from the shooting.
Police recovered a 9 mm pistol, bullet casing and bullet at the scene and identified Trevor Hauzenberger as the shooter, court records said.
Hauzenberger told police he grabbed the pistol from his vehicle after Davis got involved in the altercation. He said he showed Davis the firearm and told him to leave him alone. Davis aggressively approached him, he said, and threatened to kill him. Hauzenberger said he then shot Davis one time, in self-defense, according to the affidavit.
Haley Hauzenberger told police that Davis caused the altercation to escalate beyond a verbal dispute and threatened Trevor Hauzenberger, court records state.
Lee said Tuesday that at the time of the altercation, Davis was under the influence of drugs, had a warrant for his arrest and criminal history.
The defense’s use-of-force expert found that Davis was in a forward-leaning, aggressive position when Hauzenberger shot him, he said.
“Frankly, if I were Trevor, I would have shot the guy twice,” Lee said after the hearing. He said Hauzenberger has a license to conceal carry, was cooperative with police during their investigation and rendered first aid to Davis at the scene.