South Carolina officials say they won’t file charges against a boater who fatally shot a man that he helped rescue from the water. A statement from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office says 10th Judicial Circuit Solicitor David Wagner ruled that the Tuesday shooting of 29-year-old Nathan Drew Morgan by an unnamed 74-year-old man “was in self-defense and no charges will be filed.”
Morgan, a Walhalla resident, was shot aboard a pontoon boat on Lake Keowee.
Morgan and a woman were in distress, having fallen off their Jet Ski into the lake, Oconee County sheriff’s officials said earlier. The two had no life jackets and the Jet Ski was circling.
The 74-year-old man and his wife on a pontoon boat drove over to help fish the pair out of the lake, the sheriff’s office said. The couple on the boat told authorities Morgan “became agitated and began assaulting” them.
Investigators were told he may have wanted to get back on the Jet Ski. They also believe there may have been an argument between Morgan and the woman he was with before they fell into the water. Sheriff Mike Crenshaw told The Journal of Seneca that Morgan may have been intoxicated.
The woman who was with Morgan pushed him back into the lake in an attempt to defuse the situation, the sheriff’s office has said. The couple on the pontoon helped him aboard again, and the man shot him after a second encounter, saying he feared for his and his wife’s lives.
Authorities have declined to name the couple.
Morgan died on the boat from a gunshot wound to the chest, the Oconee County Coroner’s Office said.
Brandon Thomas, who lives nearby, told WSPA-TV the shooting was “crazy” and “unexpected” given the area.
“Certainly, have never seen anything like that or heard anything that like that,” he said.