SHELTON, Wash. -- Bruce Fanning, 59, faced a Mason County judge Monday afternoon after court documents say he admitted to police to shooting and killing a man he found showering inside his property in Belfair.
Fanning could face a charge of first-degree murder.
The county medical examiner identified the victim as 31-year-old Nate Rosa, of Bothell.
Investigators said Fanning discovered a stranger in his business showering. Court documents obtained by Q13 News said Fanning told investigators he first fled the scene, grabbed a gun and then returned where he opened fire on Rosa before calling 911.
A judge found probable cause for a first-degree murder charge, but Fanning told police he became afraid after he said the stranger made threats and appeared drunk.
“He was a great uncle, he is a great uncle,” said Christa Farster, who said she is Fanning’s niece. “I just feel really bad for the whole situation and family and stuff.”
The shooting happened near Belfair inside a home Fanning used as an office. Investigators said Fanning called 911 just before 8 a.m. Saturday and told police he shot an intruder.
When police arrived they found Rosa dead in the bathtub.
Fanning allegedly told police he first discovered evidence of a break-in, and then found Rosa in the shower. Fanning said he thought the man was drunk and told investigators he made non-understandable verbal threats towards him.
That’s when Fanning told police he left his office, walked to his home next door, got a handgun and returned to shoot Rosa several times.
“It’s just crazy,” said Fanning’s neighbor Stacey Ellingson.
Ellingson said her family heard several shots, adding she felt shocked her neighbor didn’t call deputies first.
“It’s crazy to me that he didn’t call 911 when he left,” she said. “I just wouldn’t expect that of him, he’s such a together guy.”
Rosa had worked at Bothell’s Woodmor Elementary School since 2015.
The district superintendent, Michelle Reid, told Q13 News, “Nate was a compassionate and dedicated educator who made a difference in the lives of many and will be dearly missed.”
Investigators are trying to determine why Rosa was inside Fanning’s business.
Fanning’s bail was set at $250,000.