The question of what the motive was in a shooting that left one man dead and another injured is what state police are still trying to figure out.
Here are the details that police know so far in this shooting.
According to police, two friends made their way to a shooting range in for target practice, but then for an unknown reason, the target changed for one shooter.
A group of friends that involved the two men in their 20’s and their girlfriends made way to the Greene Township State Gamelands Shooting Range for target practice with a new weapon that was purchased.
As each person took a chance to fire the gun, a turn for the worse occurred.
“Mr. Eply fired several rounds and then for unknown reasons turned and fired multiple rounds at his friend striking him multiple times. At the same time there was an unassociated individual a 67-year-old male from Erie who was target practicing. He saw these events unfold and as Mr. Eppley began firing at his friend for no apparent reason, this individual fired rounds at Mr. Eppley,” Lt. Mark Weindorf from the Pennsylvania State Police.
The 26-year-old Robert Eppley died on scene. According to the Erie County Coroner’s Office, Eppley’s death was ruled a homicide due to multiple gun wounds to the torso.
The motive as to why Eppley began shooting the 28-year-old man who was with him is unknown, but it is believed to be intentional.
“Mr. Eppley was shooting downrange. His friend was situated 10 to 12 feet behind him. So he actually had to stop firing down range, turn, point the weapon at his friend and then begin firing from there,” said Weindorf.
The 67-year-old behind the fatal shot to Epply was brought into custody by state police. He has since been released and currently there are no charges.
Investigators are working to determine if this is a case of justifiable use of deadly force. So what is the law when it comes to protecting yourself and others?
“If the individual reasonably believed he was at risk then he has the right to use self defense and the alternative is if reasonably believes that another person is at risk of serious bodily death or harm in hands of another he can use deadly force to defend that other person,” said John Carlson, Erie Criminal Defense Attorney.
The Pennsylvania Game Commission has closed the gun range until further notice.
The second victim in this case was released from the hospital last night. He is reportedly recovering well.