A 71-year-old man was fatally shot in self-defense after allegedly threatening a family with a gun on their property, NBC News Yakima is reporting.

Officers responded to a report of shots fired on May 11 at 3:30 p.m. They found the 71-year-old man dead from a gunshot wound and located the 27-year-old shooter, who told police he acted to protect his family. A small pistol was found on the deceased man.

Witnesses corroborated the shooter’s account with video evidence and statements. The 27-year-old was released after speaking with the Yakima County Prosecuting Office, NBC News Yakima reported.

“In the state of Washington, the aspect of self-defense is always something that we as prosecutors have to evaluate,” Yakima County Prosecutor Joe Brusic said. “When we’re looking at self-defense, we always look at the subjective facts.”

Brusic explained that for a shooting to be ruled as self-defense, there must be evidence that the shooter felt imminent danger to their life or the lives of others. The use of deadly force is justified if the person was threatened with a deadly weapon.

“The person that generally uses self-defense is a person in a place where they have the right to be,” Brusic said. “If you’re in your home, you have the right to be there. And that’s where people can stand their ground.”

While Brusic could not comment on the ongoing investigation, he noted that video evidence is crucial in proving self-defense. He added that law enforcement agencies gather surveillance footage from nearby businesses and homes.

The investigation remains active as the Yakima County Prosecutor’s Office continues to review the evidence before making a formal decision.

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