Lake Hemet shooter was fending off rock attack, “acted in self-defense”

LAKE HEMET — Officials investigating a shooting at Lake Hemet Campground say the alleged shooter acted in self-defense after a person attacked him with a rock inside the victim’s trailer, Wednesday evening, June 12. The campground is located in the San Jacinto Mountains, south of the mountain communities of Mountain Center and Idyllwild.

Last night’s shooting reportedly happened in the residential part of the campground, which also features day use areas, cabins and rental spaces for RV’s and tents, and a family-friendly water park that is popular with both area visitors as well as locals.

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Contacted for information about the shooting and the circumstances that led to it, Sheriff’s Media Information Bureau officials told RCNS in an email response that deputies and other emergency personnel were dispatched to the camp ground shortly after 8:30 p.m., after receiving reports of an assault with a deadly weapon.

When deputies arrived they found a man who sustained a gunshot wound along with the man who shot him. Some witnesses later reported the man who was shot was injured in the chest or upper body, but sheriff’s officials did not specify where the man was injured.

Based on the man’s injuries, a Mercy air ambulance was summoned to the scene to life-flight the injured man to an area hospital for further medical treatment.

A photograph taken at the scene from the other side of the lake showed the flashing lights from several emergency vehicles piercing the darkness of the otherwise peaceful campground, while deputies worked to get to determmine what led to the shooting.

Lake Hemet Campground was the scene of a shooting that ended with a burglar hospitalized after he was shot in the chest inside the victim’s trailer. Officials say the man was shot while using a rock to attack a man who lived inside the trailer. Sondra Hamel photo

As their investigation was getting underway, deputies learned the two men knew each other and had been involved in a “verbal altercation earlier in the day,” according to MIB officials, who said that after the altercation the two men had “gone their separate ways” for the evening.

Some time after the initial incident, one of the men decided to return to the other man’s trailer, at which time he “broke in and struck the (victim) in the head with a rock,” officials explained.

Fearing for his life, the victim fired an unspecified weapon at his rock-wielding attacker, ending the assault.

Based on their investigation, no charges were brought against the alleged shooter, according to officials, who said, “The shooter acted in self-defense.”

The man who was shot after breaking into the victim’s trailer will be facing burglary and other related charges once he is discharged from the hospital.

Officials have not released either of the men’s names, and have asked that anyone with further information or details related to the shooting who has not yet provided a statement to contact the Hemet Sheriff’s Station at (951) 791-3400. Callers can remain anonymous.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.


Contact the writer: trevor.rcns@gmail.com

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, The Valley Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 28 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.

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