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Douglas County Prosecuting Attorney Roger Wall has filed a four-count charge against a rural West Plains man for shooting a hunter in the Mark Twain National Forest last Thursday morning.
The shooting took place in southeastern Douglas County in the Twin Bridges area.
Sheriff Chris Degase reported that his office was notified of the shooting at 9:30 a.m. Thursday. The only information officers had was that a male subject had been shot on Forestry Road 759 in Douglas County.
Later apprehended and charged with the shooting was Bryan M. Wake, 20. He is charged with assault, 1st degree, serious physical injury; armed criminal action; tampering with physical evidence in felony prosecution; and interfering with hunting, fishing or trapping, 1st degree.
Wake is being held in the Douglas County Jail on $250,000 cash-only bond.
Sheriff Degase said Wednesday that the victim, Gary Pace, and three other men from the Lebanon area, were shooting crows in the national forest when the shooting occurred. He said Pace was hit in the right thigh, but the bullet passed through his leg without hitting the bone or an artery.
The probable cause statement released by the prosecutor’s office says Wake ran back into the house after shooting the man, then fled into the woods.
He was seen crossing Highway 14 running north, and was soon apprehended by officers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
After detailed questioning of Wake, officers also recovered a Mosin Nagant caliber 7.62x54R rifle believed to have been used in the shooting.
Wake first told officers he had thrown the rifle toward or into a pond. Later, at the encouragement of his father, he told officers he hid the rifle in the woods, next to a log. They found it there, covered with leaves.
Sheriff Degase said Wake told officers he believed the hunters were shooting at him when he opened fire on them.
Degase said the men were hunting legally on national forest property. Wake was apparently on private property that joins the national forest.