Assault victim can’t be found
Charge in shooting is dropped against an Arlington man who said he fired at a burglar in self-defense.
ARLINGTON — Carmen Scoleri says he is breathing easier now that Snohomish County prosecutors aren’t trying to put him in jail.
Prosecutors recently dropped an assault charge against Scoleri — some three years after the 67-year-old Arlington man fired a shotgun at a fleeing burglar. Prosecutors alleged that Scoleri was outside his legal rights when he shot the man from behind. The would-be burglar was hit in the legs. The impact broke bones.
Scoleri recently told The Herald he shot the man in self-defense. Someone fired at him after he interrupted a burglary at his son’s property, Scoleri said. He believed the man he shot was armed. Scoleri was prepared to argue his case in front of a jury.
“I wanted to go to trial. The jury would have seen this was selfdefense,” he said. “I didn’t shoot some homeless man from behind for no reason.”
Prosecutors dismissed the second-degree assault charge because they haven’t been able to find the shooting victim, according to court documents. They aren’t able to proceed to trial without his testimony, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Katherine Wetmore wrote.
“The state has no further information about the location of (the man) who is transient with no known address and at this time
has no ability to locate him,” she added.
The shooting happened June 28, 2013, but Scoleri wasn’t charged until early 2015. That’s because the victim was difficult to track down, according to court papers. He was homeless then, too, and living outside Snohomish County.
According to court papers, he and about seven others had been recruited in 2013 to break into Shawn Scoleri’s medical marijuana-growing operation off Carpenter Road. Shawn Scoleri is a veteran grower who operated a medical marijuana dispensary in Seattle. He has been vocal about legalizing marijuana and easing regulation of the new industry.
The mastermind behind the heist at Scoleri’s grow was a former associate who felt he had been wronged and was out to get revenge, according to court papers.
The burglars were told different stories about why they were breaking in and were promised a reward for their help. They came from south King County and “found that they had bitten off more than they could chew,” Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Chris Dickinson wrote in the charging papers.
The house was heavily fortified with security cameras, alarms and iron bars on doors. The band of thieves was unsuccessful in busting down the door. The ruckus set off a security alarm. Carmen Scoleri lives nearby and was alerted to the break-in.
When he pulled up, the men scattered. Two of them jumped into a vehicle and headed for the driveway. Carmen Scoleri’s pickup was blocking their exit. The driver swerved into some brush, lost control and crashed into a fence.
Carmen Scoleri said the driver tried to run him down.
Prosecutors alleged the Scoleri shot one of the would-be burglars as the man was running away. The man reportedly told police that Scoleri walked up to him and asked, “How does it feel to get shot?”
Scoleri disputes the man’s claims. He said he was headed back to his pickup when someone took a shot at him. He said he then saw a man turn toward him with what appeared to be a gun. He shot the man. The shotgun, he said, had been left behind by the burglars.
“I asked him, ‘Who fired that shot?’” Scoleri said.
He was afraid of the others so he drove off.
A neighbor who heard the commotion called 911. Police found the wounded man lying on the ground. The officers rounded up several other would-be thieves hiding in the woods and brush. While they were investigating, Scoleri’s attorney called prosecutors and arranged for him to surrender. He drove back to the marijuana grow and was arrested.
The wounded man was taken to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, where he spent several weeks and underwent surgeries.
Scoleri wonders why the men who tried to break into his son’s property aren’t being held accountable for their actions. They also were behind a burglary at another one of his son’s properties prior to the incident on Carpenter Road, he said.
“I don’t know why they didn’t prosecute these people,” he said. “These criminals are still walking free. They should have been prosecuted for this home invasion. I’m the one that was caught in the middle.”
Scoleri said he is a Vietnam War veteran, who served in the U.S. Army. He has suffered from post traumatic stress disorder ever since, the Everett native said. The shooting and three years of legal uncertainty have aggravated his symptoms, he said.
“I’m just glad it’s all over. I’ve finally been able to breath again,” Scoleri said. “I just don’t want people thinking I shot someone from behind.”