Charges filed for bear shooting

Nightwalker says he was 'ignorant' of how to handle situation

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— The 14th Judicial District Attorney's Office will file charges this morning against Kent Nightwalker, who admitted he shot and killed a bear July 20 near his home in downtown Steamboat Springs.

District Attorney Elizabeth Oldham said Nightwalker will be charged with three misdemeanors. They include waste of wildlife, for not taking the bear into his possession, a charge normally associated with hunting; reckless endangerment, for discharging a firearm in public; and disorderly conduct, which prohibits anyone but peace officers from discharging firearms in public unless they are lawfully engaging in target practice or are hunting.

"I didn't endanger anybody," Nightwalker said Wednesday. "Nobody was around. The people next door (in the direction of where the shot went) were gone. I didn't recklessly do anything.

"It was me and the bear for 45 minutes. There was nobody coming or anything. I checked it out two or three times. I checked it out two times, and the third time I went out there."

Nightwalker said upon seeing the bear in the alley behind his Eight Street home, he slammed his car door, ran inside and called 911. The dispatcher reportedly told him to go inside and wait until the bear left the area. Call logs show a call was placed from Nightwalker's phone number at 9:59 p.m.

Nightwalker said the shot he fired was intended to scare the 200- to 300-pound male bear away from the alley. Nightwalker said he shot toward the ground near the bear's feet to scare it away after police didn't respond to his 911 call.

A second call from a neighbor, reporting the dead bear, came at 10:13 p.m.

The Division of Wildlife investigated the shooting. Officer Danielle Domson declined to comment until the charges were released publicly today.

Deputy District Attorney Ross Prindle said in addition to the DOW report, a report from the Steamboat Springs Police Department also was evaluated to determine whether charges should be filed.

Prindle said the disorderly conduct charge carries a penalty of a $250 to $1,000 fine and three to 12 months in jail. The reckless endangerment charge carries a penalty of a $50 to $750 fine and as many as six months in jail. And the waste of wildlife charge carries a penalty of a $100 fine and points assessed against a hunting license.

"I wouldn't say they're unfair," Nightwalker said about the charges, "but I would say that you have to abide by the laws of a community, a city. You have to. I was ignorant. If I had it to do over again, I would have called them (police) and called them and called them until they came to my house."

After the charges are filed today, Prindle said Nightwalker would be issued a summons for his first appearance in court. He said that appearance likely would happen in the next several weeks.

Comments

scottgnu 5 years, 1 month ago

The call history shows an initial call made to 911 by Nightwalker at 9:59pm, then a subsequent call made to 911 by the neighbor at 10:13pm advising of the dead bear. Therefore, Nightwalker decided that within a 14 min. time period the response by the police was so slow that he had to take it into his own hands and kill the bear? Give me a break. Nightwalker makes is sound as if the police didn't respond for hours! Hey, Nightwalker, maybe your call was not of the highest priority at the time.

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beentheredonethat 5 years, 1 month ago

HE IS LYING AND THE CHARGES CONSIDERED ARE MUCH TOO LENIENT.

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MsRed 5 years, 1 month ago

I think it would be best if Mr. Nightwalker didn't say much else. I think the court of opinion has reached it's verdict.

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bubba 5 years, 1 month ago

To paraphrase his defense: 'I didn't endanger anyone - the people who's house I would have hit if I missed the bear weren't home.'

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Aspengold 5 years, 1 month ago

"It was me and the bear for 45 minutes. "

I also come up with 14 minutes.

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charliecigar 5 years, 1 month ago

CAUTION- Steamboat residents are advised to remain indoors after sunset as long as NightStalker is free to roam the streets with a loaded gun..

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jk 5 years, 1 month ago

What should not be lost here is the fact the DOW needs to start doing their job! Their improper turn the other cheek management style regarding this issue is only going to make things worse. Mamma bear will teach the baby bears it is easier to find food in the city rather than in the forest. Before long the trash collectors will need to be armed when opening dumpster enclosures, or picking up the roadside trash. Believe me when I say I am not defending this guy in any way, as I've stated before anyone willing to fire a high powered rife in town, and at a house should be spending a little time thinking about how to use that thing sitting on his shoulders.

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aichempty 5 years, 1 month ago

There are many things done in this town and county that are far worse, and done intentionally.

I wish everybody who is so upset about this poor bear (and I really mean that; I have compassion for the beast) would be 1/2 as upset about the people who are being victimized economically using the power of the state, and outright denied their civil rights under color of law.

This was a tragedy averted by luck. People could have been injured, but were not.

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SkiTownUSA 5 years, 1 month ago

I don't understand why people are so quick to call the police whenever they see a bear? Don't get me wrong, there are probably circumstances that would make it a smart thing to do. But it seems every time someone catches a peek of a bear, they hop on the phone and call the cops. I just read in the record today that someone called the police on a bear, but then it ran off when it heard someone start their car. Oh well... not a big deal just an observation.

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Tricia Nickerson 5 years, 1 month ago

I agree with beenthere...too lenient...what IF someone was walking by and was hit by the stray bullet. he made a mistake and he's lucky it was only the bear that got hit.

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untamedShrewd 5 years, 1 month ago

my kid and friends play in that neighborhood. Often they ride their bikes in that alley. and being that it is summer, they ride at night and on week days. Good to know that Nightwalker's marksmanship wouldn't endanger the kids. Try yelling at a bear next time.

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