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Suspect Arrested Months After Shooting Black Bear Hunter, Fleeing the Scene

The suspect allegedly fled after shooting a Washington hunter who was tracking a bear
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black bear in tree

The hunter was shot while tracking a black bear in Washington's Blue Mountains. Kerry Hargrove / Adobe Stock

A months-long investigation into who shot a bear hunter in southeastern Washington in August 2022 has produced a suspect, the Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office reports. Joshua Troy Queen, 42, was arrested and charged with third degree felony assault on May 25. He is currently in custody, according to Walla Walla County inmate records.

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Queen allegedly shot a bear hunter (whose identity has not been disclosed) across Nightingale Canyon east of Walla Walla on the evening of Aug. 5, 2022, four days after the fall season opener. The hunter had shot a black bear and was tracking it while his hunting partner remained in position to spot. The partner, who also remains unidentified, heard the a shot echo through the canyon and watched the hunter hit the ground and roll down the hill. 

The partner called emergency services and approached the hunter, who was “bleeding profusely” from a gunshot wound. Initial reports stated the bullet was from a high-caliber rifle. The partner looked across the canyon in the direction of the gunshot and saw someone running away through a field. Walla Walla County deputies were dispatched to the scene and “multiple people assisted with life-saving measures.” The victim was transported to the hospital, where he underwent surgery on August 8 and stayed through August 9. 

The hunting partner reported hearing voices from “at least two other hunters” in the canyon south of where the duo was hunting, according to the press release from the original incident. He also reported information about vehicles seen in the area to the responding officers. Deputies applied for search warrants, though it is currently unclear whether they executed any searches and how they caught Queen. Neither was it immediately clear if Queen was hunting at the time. The Walla Walla County Sheriff’s Office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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Third-degree assault in Washington occurs when someone, with criminal negligence, “causes bodily harm to another person by means of a weapon or other instrument or thing likely to produce bodily harm.” It’s considered a Class C Felony and is punishable by up to five years in prison and a $10,000 fine.