Authorities make arrest after Washington man shoots gun at people |

Authorities make arrest after Washington man shoots gun at people

No one was hurt after authorities say a Washington man fired a gun at people who were taking a selfie on a roadside.

Patrick Wayne Cooper, 54, of Washington, faces felony charges of discharging a firearm with gross negligence, shooting into an inhabited vehicle, assault with a firearm and permitting another person to bring or carry a firearm in a vehicle. Arrested Sunday, Cooper was free Tuesday on a $50,000 bond, Nevada County Jail reports state.

Authorities say they arrested Cooper after the Sunday shooting at a Washington Road turnout.

A father and son had stopped at the turnout near Highway 20 to put air in their tires. One of their spouses and a 5-year-old boy stayed inside their vehicle as the father and son propped a cell phone on a sign to take a picture of themselves, Nevada County Sheriff’s Lt. Sean Scales said.

That’s when a man in a blue Jeep arrived and asked what the pair was doing to the sign, he added.

“He presented a firearm and discharged a single round toward the gentleman who was on the side of the road, his father and the sign,” the lieutenant said.

No one was struck, Scales said.

The suspect then left toward Washington, and the victim called authorities. Deputies then checked the area and found a vehicle in the 15000 block of Washington Road matching the description they received, Scales and reports state.

Deputies then spoke with Cooper, he added.

“He admitted to driving the vehicle and being in the area at the time of the shooting,” Scales said. “He admitted to talking to the victims about possibly doing something to the sign, but denied ever shooting a firearm or pointing a firearm or anything like that.”

Deputies searched his vehicle, finding a 40-caliber pistol with ammunition matching a shell casing found at the scene of the shooting. They then arrested Cooper without incident, Scales said.

Alan Riquelmy is the editor of The Union. He can be reached at 530-477-4239 or

Patrick Wayne Cooper

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