Investigators assessing self-defense claim in Klamath River shooting

David Smith, GateHouse Media California

A Klamath River man arrested Monday, Feb. 12, in connection with his son’s shooting death has since been released, according to Siskiyou County District Attorney Kirk Andrus.

On Tuesday, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office reported that Stanley Mortensen, 76, had called to report that he had been involved in a shooting in the 1000 block of Barkhouse Creek Road in Klamath River.

Deputies responded to the scene and found Mortensen’s son, Henry Lee Mortensen, 40, also of Klamath River, deceased with an apparent gunshot wound.

Stanley Mortensen was arrested at the scene and transported to the Siskiyou County Jail, and it was initially reported that he could face a murder charge.

According to Andrus, Mortensen was instead released on Tuesday night. He noted that there is a 48 hour period during which charges can be filed against a suspect, and it became apparent to investigators that such a charge would not be possible in that period of time.

Andrus said that it was decided jointly with the SCSO that no charges would be filed yet, but the investigation continues. He noted that there is a self-defense claim in the case that constitutes a large part of the investigation.

Andrus explained that in self-defense cases, the prosecution must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the suspect in the case did not act in self defense.

Per the Judicial Council of California, a person has acted in self-defense if he or she believes that there is imminent danger of another person causing bodily injury to themselves or others, he or she believes that immediate use of force was necessary to defend against that danger, and the individual used “no more force than was reasonably necessary to defend against that danger.”

Andrus noted that, in analyzing what occurred, investigators have to determine what a suspect is thinking at the moment the act took place, and why they felt that way – utilizing evidence at the scene to corroborate.

“We’re reviewing what specifically took place when Henry Mortensen was killed,” he said.

Stanley Mortensen has no prior criminal convictions, according to Andrus.