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A Belfair homeowner posted a $250,000 bond and is free from jail, as Mason County Sheriff’s investigators look into the possibility that the man he shot and killed was “confused” and thought he had entered a friend’s house two doors down the street.
“It may be a case of wrong place, wrong time,” Mason County prosecutor Michael Dorcy said on Tuesday.
Dorcy cautioned that the shooting on East Trails Road early Saturday morning is still under active investigation and although homeowner Bruce Fanning was booked for investigation of murder in the first degree, he still has not been formally charged.
The prosecutor says investigators are putting together a timeline of events before 31-year-old Nate Rosa was confronted by Fanning in the shower of the home-based internet business that Fanning operates on his East Trails Road property.
Rosa taught special needs children at a Bothell elementary school.
Dorcy said investigators had been told that Rosa attended a gathering of friends Friday night to send off a military friend who was being deployed to Afghanistan.
Dorcy said Rosa and friends apparently hit some bars in the Belfair area and then visited a friend’s home two doors down from the property Fanning owns.
The friends reported that around 5 a.m. Rosa left the house to get some air, and “according to those guys he never came back,” said Dorcy.
Dorcy said the house that Fanning owns is very similar in appearance and floor plan to the friend’s house. Rosa may have thought he was at his friend’s home when he was actually at Fanning’s door.
“It leads me to wonder if he thought, ‘Where is everybody?' when he showed up at Fanning’s house," Dorcy said.
Investigators believe Rosa might have forced his way into the home and hopped into the shower.
Dorcy said he was waiting on the results of toxicology tests to determine if Rosa could have been intoxicated at the time he was shot. Bruce Fanning told investigators that the man he found in his shower appeared drunk.
Fanning had walked over from his primary residence, which is next to the tidy home that he has renovated into a sports-related internet business. He told authorities he saw evidence that someone had broken into the building and went inside to investigate.
Fanning exchanged words with the man in the shower and later described him as “verbally aggressive.”
Fanning walked back to his primary residence and grabbed a handgun. He walked up to the shower and fired shots through the curtain, striking and killing Rosa.
Fanning claims it was an act of self-defense and that he was “afraid” for his life. Investigators are looking into why he didn’t call 911 when he was safely away from the intruder and back at his home.
Dorcy said investigators are working diligently to answer that question before his office decides on whether to file charges.
Fanning’s properties are marked with signs on the windows that say “trespassers will be shot” and warnings that an attack dog is on the premises.
Fanning’s niece said that he is a “very private person.”
Rosa grew up in the Belfair area. He has dedicated much of his adult life to special needs children, both as a volunteer and as a para-educator for the Northshore School District.
In emails sent to parents at Woodmoor Elementary school in Bothell Sunday, Superintendent Michelle Reid called Rosa a “compassionate and dedicated educator who made a difference in the lives of many and will be dearly missed.”
Counseling is being offered to students and staff.
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