Lawyers have announced a news conference this afternoon to discuss a federal lawsuit over the fatal shooting of Jonathan Bolger Aug. 20, 2017, by a Buffalo River National Park ranger.
Attorneys David Ransin and Mike Laux are filing the federal lawsuit.
Bolger, who lived in Missouri, was camping with his girlfriend and children. Two park ranges went to the campsite about 1:30 a.m. By the lawyers’ account, they shined flashlights in Bolger’s face. The rangers said Bolger was pointing a pistol at them and refused to drop it. One of the rangers shot Bolger multiple times as he turned toward his truck.
The lawyers contend Bolger was shot within two minutes after the rangers left their truck for a public safety sweep. From the lawyers’ news release:
Five days after the shooting, flanked by his union lawyers, the offending ranger claimed that not only was Jon armed at the time of the shooting, but the reason that he shot Jon was because Jon, with both hands raised, pointed a gun in the direction of the offending ranger.
The release says the ranger’s body camera shows Bolger turned away from the shooter with his hand on the door of his pickup.
A state prosecutor declined to file charges in the case. From the Springfield News-Leader:
According to the park service, the rangers identified themselves as law enforcement officers and illuminated Bolger with flashlights. Bolger was pointing an object directly at the rangers, which they believed was a semi-automatic handgun.
According to the report, the rangers ordered Bolger to drop the handgun and he refused. One of the rangers then shot Bolger.
Authorities said Bolger was armed with an Umarex XP air pistol, which resembles a two-toned semi-automatic handgun and does not have an orange tip to identify it as an air pistol.
An attorney representing Bolger’s family has said Bolger was shot twice, once in the upper right shoulder blade and once in the hip.