Suspect in shooting death to be released pending further investigation


June 23, 2022

-Dayton Chronicle photo by Charlotte Baker

The suspect in a shooting death this week will be released while the investigation continues and charges are pending, announced C. Dale Slack, Columbia County Prosecuting Attorney.

DAYTON–As of Friday, June 24, 2022, the Columbia County Prosecuting Attorney's Office has not filed charges against Jason William Bomar, a suspect in the June 20, 2022, shooting death of Christopher Gonzales here, pending further consideration of the investigation by the Columbia County Sheriff's Office, and further investigation of potential evidence in the case from other witnesses and parties with information about the event, Prosecuting Attorney C. Dale Slack said in a news release Friday.

"In the interest of fairness to victims, survivors, and the accused, it is the practice of this office to only file charges after a full investigation and thorough consideration of the evidence, the offense(s) alleged, potential defenses, the burden of proof, and the likelihood of conviction based on those considerations. Information is still being gathered and reviewed in this matter," Slack stated in the release.

Under Washington's criminal court rules (CrR 3.2.1(f)), the State may only hold a suspect in jail or under conditions of release on probable cause for 72 hours following arrest. "Therefore, Mr. Bomar will have to be released without conditions as we are not able to charge him at this time," Slack said. "Charges may still be filed, even after the 72-hour probable cause time limit, and this is in no way a final decision on charging."

Investigation and consideration will continue, Slack pointed out, with all options being considered at this time, including the possibility of a coroner's inquest into Mr. Gonzales's death.

All of this information has now been shared with Mr. Gonzales's family and Slack pledged that the Prosecutor's Office will continue to keep the family informed as the investigation and process continues and decisions are made.

"Our sympathies are with Mr. Gonzales's family, regardless of the outcome of charging decision in this matter," Slack said.

Investigation reports included in Bomar's probable-cause hearing file indicate that self defense may have allegedly been an element of the incident at 118 E. Washington Avenue on June 20.


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