Community members gathered along the highway outside of the National Park Service (NPS) ranger station in Kettle Falls last Wednesday, and in front of the Stevens County Courthouse Friday morning to protest the agency’s handling of a noise compliant that turned violent at the Kettle River Campground on Sept. 14.
Mystery still surrounds exactly what happened during the incident, but it resulted in one of the two NPS rangers opening fire and shooting Casey Hartinger, 43, a passenger on a houseboat owned by Michael Joe Sublie. Hartinger was wounded in the ribs and taken to Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center in Spokane, where he was eventually released.
“We the people cannot stand by and have our unarmed children, or adults, shot at by federal agents,” said protestor Dean Curtis. “If we can’t stand up to this, where can we (make a) stand?”
Protestors at last week’s rallies identified the two NPS rangers involved as Matt Phillipson and Josh Wentz, though the NPS has refused to release the names of the officers involved. In a report by Special Agent Chris Kuvelsky of the NPS Investigative Services Branch released through Spokane County Court, the two rangers are identified by their initials, J.W. and M.P.
*Read the full story in the Oct. 2 edition of the Statesman-Examiner!