Butt shooting similar to stabbing case, police say

Police are looking for an Oak Harbor man who may have accidentally shot his fiancee in the buttock, according to police.

Capt. Tony Slowik with the Oak Harbor Police Department said the case was oddly similar to an incident earlier this year at the same residence. In both cases, a resident showed up at the hospital emergency room with injuries from an assault — a shooting and a stabbing — that hadn’t been reported to police.

In the July 6 incident, a staff member at WhidbeyHealth Medical Center reported that a woman was brought into the emergency room with a non-life-threatening injury to her buttock and leg. The patient had been transported to the hospital in a private vehicle.

Initially, the woman told investigators a story that was inconsistent with her injury, according to police. Upon further questioning, she claimed the shooting was an accident that occurred at her Judson Drive home. She said she was in bed with her fiancé, James L. Mathis, and he had a handgun in his waistband that accidentally went off and struck her.

The woman still has a bullet in her, Slowik said. It’s up to her if she wants to have surgery to remove it. If so, the police will seize the bullet as evidence.

Mathis is a convicted felon and ineligible to possess firearms, according to police. Slowik said the police have probable cause to arrest Mathis for assault in the third degree (domestic violence,) unlawful possession of a firearm and reckless endangerment. Detectives tried to contact Mathis and have tried to get messages to him about turning himself in.

According to court records, Mathis was already wanted on a $50,000 bench warrant when he failed to appear for a March 1, 2021 arraignment on charges of felony harassment and malicious mischiefs, both of which were domestic violence charges. He was accused of threatening to kill his father and breaking a phone, court documents state.

In addition, Mathis was charged in 2019 in two felony cases for illegal possession of guns and cyberstalking, court records state.

In the other incident that occurred at the home, a man showed up at the emergency room May 4 with a stab wound to the knee. The man — not Mathis — claimed his roommate, Herman Schoonover, stabbed him during an argument and pointed a gun at him, according to a police report. Police found a knife in Schoonover’s waistband and a .380 pistol in his underwear drawer, the police report states.

Schoonover was charged with second-degree assault and is being held in jail on $50,000 bail.