Man shot dead by Mason Co. homeowner was educator with no criminal record

Nathaniel Rosa (Photo from Northshore School Dist.)

BELFAIR, Wash. - The man who was shot dead by a Mason County homeowner while showering Saturday was a paraeducator with the Northshore School District with no criminal record, officials said Monday.

The man, identified as Nathaniel Joseph Rosa, 31, of Bothell, may simply have been confused and in the wrong house by accident, said Ryan Spurling of the Mason County Sheriff's Office.

Mason County Prosecutor Michael Dorsey said Rosa had been at a party at an identical house two doors away and may have become confused.

The homeowner, Bruce Fanning, 59, later told investigators that he didn't know the intruder.

Spurling said Fanning was checking on a house he uses for operating an Internet-based business on East Trails End Road in Belfair, when he found that the front door had been forced open and discovered Rosa using the shower inside. The homeowner owner ordered the man to leave.

Court documents say Fanning said the intruder responded aggressively "with non-understandable verbal threats."

Dorsey said Rosa had been at a party two doors down for a friend who is deploying to Afghanistan. At 5 a.m., he left to go for a walk. He didn't have a car, and his clothes were found to be wet.

Fanning said he thought the man was drunk. Fanning told investigators that he was afraid, according to court documents.

He went to his home next door and got a .45-caliber pistol. He returned to the other property, saw the intruder was still there and shot Rosa three times through the shower curtain, court documents say.

There was no verbal confrontation before the shooting, court documents say.

Court documents say Rosa's body was found in a bathtub and that two bullet holes were found in the shower curtain.

Fanning called 911 and told dispatchers that he had just shot and killed an intruder, sheriff's officials said.

Detectives said there was no evidence that the homeowner had acted in self-defense, so he was arrested and booked into jail for investigation of murder.

Fanning made his first court appearance on Monday in Mason County and is now facing a possible murder charge.

“Unreal. I would never (have) thought in a million years that we would be here,” said Fanning’s niece Christal Farster after the court appearance. Farster described her uncle has a private man who spent most of his time at his business.

Court documents say Fanning could not explain to a detective why he didn't call 911 before the shooting.

Mason County Sheriff's Lt. Travis Adams said Fanning had plenty of time to call law enforcement to report a break-in, and there was no need for him to open fire.

"Certainly he had an opportunity to call law enforcement at that time," Adams said. "And we’ve contacted our local prosecutor, explained the circumstances to him, and he agrees that second-degree murder was an appropriate charge in this case."

In a prepared statement issued Monday, the Mason County Sheriff's Office said it found during the initial investigation that "the facts, statements and evidence in this case do not support necessary (or) reasonable self-defense at this time."

Spurling said investigators are still trying to figure out why Rosa was in the man's house, and that there may have been a mistake because there are four homes in a row there.

“Just the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Farster. “I know my uncle - he protects - so I know he wouldn’t have done anything unless he did feel threatened.”

Rosa had served as a one-on-one paraeducator at Woodmoor Elementary School in the Northshore School District in Bothell since July 2015. He also served as a member of Woodmoor’s Leadership Team.

The Northshore School District did not offer an official statement about Rosa's death, but did send emails to staff and parents after the deadly shooting, calling it a "devastating loss for our school community."

A judge set bail for Fanning at $250,000.

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