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Sheriff: Argument over dead raccoon led to rural Mason Co. shooting

Photo from Mason County Sheriff's Office

ALLYN, Wash. - Officials say an altercation over a dead raccoon led to Sunday's shooting in rural Mason County, and they are still looking for a person of interest in the shooting.

Lt. Travis Adams with Mason County Sheriff’s Office said Tuesday the strange incident started as a man was walking along Highway 3 north of Allyn dragging a dead raccoon behind him with a rope.

The man had earlier found the raccoon, which had been hit by a car, and wanted to use it as bait for some type of crab pot. He didn’t want to smell its pungent stench, so he was dragging it about 15 feet behind him.

Some people driving by in a white SUV saw the man and thought he was dragging a dead dog behind him. This upset them, so they pulled over and angrily confronted the man.

At about the same time, one or more people in a black pickup drove by and also had the same false impression that the man was dragging a dead dog. They joined in the altercation, then one of them pulled out a gun and opened fire at the man with the dead raccoon. The man was struck twice in the leg.

The occupants of the white SUV and the black pickup then left the scene. The pickup struck the man who had been shot as it sped away.

(The video below shows the shirtless man dragging the raccoon before he was shot. Video contains some mild profanity toward the end.)

Deputies later tracked down the people in the white SUV and they are cooperating with the investigation.

Detectives are still looking for the person suspected of opening fire. He was in an older black Ford F-150 pickup truck with a canopy. A white dog was believed to be inside the pickup during the shooting.

Adams said he has never seen or heard of an incident like this one before in all his career as a law enforcement official.

"I've been doing this for 21-plus years, and I've never quite heard the 'raccoon being dragged down the road' story before, so it's a new one for all of us," Adams said.

The victim who was shot is expected to recover. No arrests have been made yet.

Anyone with information is urged to call the Mason County Sheriff's Office at 360-426-3302.

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This story has been updated to clarify that the dead animal was a raccoon, not a opossum.

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