Man shot in hand in road rage dispute

The suspect, 52-year-old James R. Lake, claimed that he shot in self defense.

A man was shot in the hand during a road rage incident near Oak Harbor on Nov. 16, according to court documents.

The suspect, 52-year-old James R. Lake, claimed that he shot in self defense when the other driver was approaching his car. A deputy, however, was at the scene and arrested him on suspicion of assault in the first degree.

Lake appeared in Island County Superior Court Nov. 17. The judge set his bail at $10,000.

According to a court document, a deputy with the Island County Sheriff’s Office was transporting a man wanted on an arrest warrant to Island County Jail at about 9:30 p.m. when she saw two cars speeding on Highway 20 south of Oak Harbor.

The deputy attempted to catch up with the cars and flashed her emergency lights to warn them to slow down; she could not conduct a traffic stop with a detainee in her car, her report indicates. She caught up with them near the intersection of Monroe Landing Road and turned her lights on for about three seconds in warning. Both of the vehicles stopped in the middle of the highway. The deputy pulled up behind them and radioed in the incident.

The driver of the front vehicle got out of his car and started walking toward the other car. The deputy heard a gunshot as the man was walking. The driver of the rear car then drove away from the scene, the report indicates.

The driver suffered a gunshot wound to his hand. Since the injury wasn’t life-threatening, the deputy called the ambulance and went after the fleeing car. The deputy found the car had pulled over on the highway and arrested the driver, identified as Lake, the report states. A handgun was found in his waistband.

Lake told the deputy that he had been cut off by the other car. He said he feared for his life when the other driver got out of his car so he fired in an attempt to scare the driver away, the deputy wrote. He said he fired out the window with his left hand even though he is not left-handed, the report indicates.

The injured driver apparently went to the hospital on his own. The report states that the man had a hole through the middle of his hand and a severely mangled pinky finger. He told deputies that he approached the other car to confront a driver he believed was involved in a collision near Safeway in Oak Harbor.