A man who fell off his jet ski into a South Carolina lake was shot and killed by the boatman who rescued him in what prosecutors have called an act of self-defense.
The incident occurred on Lake Keowee near Salem, South Carolina, on Tuesday, March 15, the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office said in a press release. Officers were dispatched to the man-made lake just after 2:15 p.m. in response to a reported shooting involving a boatman and a wave runner.
According to police, a couple was on a pontoon boat when they saw a man and woman in distress in the water. The couple reportedly fell from a jet ski and were not wearing life jackets.
The skippers rescued them as the jet ski continued to “make circles in the lake,” the sheriff’s office said.
But according to the release, the man who was rescued “got agitated and started attacking the couple on the pontoon”. Investigators said he might have wanted to get back on the jet ski. The woman who had been with him then pushed him into the lake in an attempt to de-escalate the situation, police said.
The man and woman helped the man back onto their boat.
“After a second encounter, the man on the pontoon shot the man fearing for his and his wife’s lives as he was attacked,” the sheriff’s office said. “The shot man died on the pontoon.”
According to the press release, the man and woman on the jet ski may have had an argument before falling off.
The The 10th Circuit Solicitor’s Office determined the shooting was in self-defense and said no charges will be filed. The victim was identified as Nathan Drew Morgan.
Law enforcement have the names of the others involved have not been released.
Morgan, 29, was a native of Asheville, North Carolina, living in Walhalla, South Carolina, according to his obituary. He “enjoyed being on the water, fishing, sitting around a campfire and playing basketball,” his obituary said.
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