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Rescuer, who shot South Carolina man who fell into lake, acted in self defense, prosecutors say

NBC News 3/20/2022 Kalhan Rosenblatt
© Provided by NBC News

Charges will not be filed against a South Carolina man who fatally shot a jet skier he initially attempted to rescue, prosecutors announced on Friday.

Two jet skiers, a man and a woman, fell into Lake Keowee in Salem, South Carolina, on Tuesday, and were rescued by another man and woman on a pontoon boat, according to a release from the Oconee County Sheriff’s Office.

Neither the couple on the boat nor the woman in the water have had their identities made public by officials. The deceased jet skier is Nathan Drew Morgan, officials said in a statement.

The jet skiers were not wearing life jackets when they fell into the water, prompting the pair on the pontoon boat to step in and help, officials said. As the pair were rescued the jet ski continued to drive in circles in the water.

Once on the pontoon boat, Morgan became agitated, "and began assaulting the couple on the pontoon," the release states.

Officials said that it is believed Morgan wanted to return to the jet ski, which continued driving through the water despite having no one aboard.

In an attempt to deescalate the situation, the rescued woman pushed Morgan into the water. After bringing Morgan back onto the pontoon a second time, the man on the boat shot him, fearing for the safety of those on board.

Morgan died on the pontoon boat.

After reviewing the evidence of the shooting, prosecutors ruled the shooting a case of self defense and announced they would not press chargers.

“The Oconee County Sheriff’s Office is asking for continued prayer for the family of Nathan Drew Morgan,” officials said in the statement.

The statement says all parties involved have been notified of the decision not to move forward with charges.

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