Rick Bannan / [email protected]
A Woodland man faces assault and unlawful firearms possession charges after he allegedly shot a man in July who performed work for him.
Joseph Ralls, 82, was scheduled for an arraignment hearing in Clark County Superior Court on Sept. 20. He faces charges of first-degree assault and three counts of second-degree unlawful possession of a firearm.
Ralls was initially scheduled for an arraignment on Sept. 13 though he did not appear at the time of the hearing. According to court documents, he appeared an hour later and the court moved to reschedule.
During Ralls’ first court appearance on Sept. 7 he was granted supervised release and was ordered to wear a GPS device due to medical conditions, according to court records.
According to a probable cause affidavit, Woodland police officers were dispatched to the 200 block of Island Aire Drive to respond to a shooting at around 3:16 p.m. on July 27. Officers were told someone had been shot but had left in a pickup truck.
On arrival, officers found the resident of the home, Ralls, down on the wheelchair ramp to his residence. Ralls told officers a burglar tried to enter his home. He refused medical treatment and went to the Woodland Police Department to talk with officers.
At 3:30 p.m. that day, officers learned a shooting victim had arrived at the Cowlitz Tribal Police Station on the tribal reservation, the affidavit stated. The victim, identified as Kenneth Aguilar, 32, told officers he had gone to Ralls’ residence to collect money Ralls owed him when he was shot.
An officer responding to the residence saw an “obvious” bullet hole through a window to the right of the front door, the affidavit stated. Ralls told officers he fell out of his wheelchair and dropped a gun under a skirting panel at the bottom of the ramp.
In an interview, Ralls said Aguilar worked as a handyman for Ralls for a few months and believed Aguilar was using drugs, according to the affidavit. Ralls said Aguilar had harassed Ralls’ wife for weeks while Ralls was in the hospital.
Ralls said Aguilar demanded $100 from his wife. Aguilar reportedly did not accept the $25 the woman offered him for what she believed they owed him, the affidavit stated. Ralls said he was defending his home when he shot Aguilar through the window, who had been standing outside on the wheelchair ramp.
“Ralls said more than once he wished he had been a better shot,” the affidavit stated.
He could not explain a specific threat Aguilar made toward his wife.
Ralls told officers he was a convicted felon which prohibited him from owning a firearm, the affidavit stated, and that the gun was his wife’s. He said he went outside after shooting at Aguilar, after which his motorized wheelchair tipped over at the bottom of the ramp.
During the interview, Ralls “said something to the effect that Aguilar was a ‘tweaker that needed to be put down,’” according to the affidavit.
Ralls’ wife told a similar story to officers, the affidavit stated. She also could not recall a specific threat from Aguilar and stated he made no attempt to get into the residence.
Officers executing a search warrant recovered the firearm, which was a revolver, the affidavit stated. Ralls was confirmed to have been convicted of a felony in the 1980s.
Aguilar received surgery to remove a bullet from his upper-right chest at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center and was expected to make a full recovery, according to the affidavit.
Ralls was not initially booked by officers due to his age and health, the affidavit stated. He was later issued a summons to appear in court on Sept. 7, according to court documents.