Drowning Man Fatally Shot By Same Boater Who Rescued Him

A South Carolina man was fatally shot by a boater after he was rescued and allegedly became aggressive.

Nathan Drew Morgan, 29, and an unnamed woman were thrown off their Jet Ski at Lake Keowee on Tuesday afternoon and investigators believe the pair may have been arguing before the incident.

A man and woman on a pontoon boat nearby observed Morgan and the unnamed woman struggling in the water. Neither individual wore life jackets and both showed signs of distress in the water, according to police.

According to police, the couple on the boat approached Morgan and the woman and the two got on board as the unmanned Jet Ski continued to circle the lake. After boarding the boat, Morgan allegedly became "agitated" and began assaulting the couple that rescued him.

South Carolina is one of 38 states that have stand-your-ground laws that allow residents to use deadly force in self-defense. First introduced in Florida in 2005, these laws trump duty-to-retreat laws.

"The law was originally intended to allow individuals to defend themselves, with lethal force, against an aggressor without first attempting to retreat," Thaddeus Hoffmeister, attorney and law professor at the University of Dayton, told Newsweek.

"The law was supposed to specifically apply when someone has a legal right to be where they are, did not start the altercation, and has an articulable fear for their life or of serious bodily injury."

In order to claim self-defense in South Carolina, one must prove that they believed they were in imminent danger and did not instigate an attack.

"Investigators have been told that the man may have wanted to get back to the Jet Ski," a news release stated. "The female, who was on the Jet Ski, attempted to deescalate the assault by pushing the man, who had been on the Jet Ski, back in the water."

The couple on the pontoon then assisted Morgan back onto their boat for a second time, police said.

Morgan allegedly began assaulting the couple again and, "fearing for his and his wife's life," the man shot Morgan. Morgan died on the pontoon boat from a bullet wound to the chest, WSOC-TV reported.

Oconee County Sheriff's Deputies were dispatched just after 2 p.m. to reports of a shooting, according to police. Officials with the Criminal Investigations Division and Special Operations Division, including the Marine Unit, were also called to the scene.

Police told Newsweek that all parties involved are cooperating and that the shooting has been ruled a case of self-defense.

"Based upon evidence that was presented, 10th Circuit Solicitor David Wagner has determined that the shooting was in self-defense and no charges will be filed," OCSO said. "The Oconee County Sheriff's Office is asking for continued prayer for the family of Nathan Drew Morgan, who is the deceased as a result of the shooting."

Man fatally shot by boater
A man in South Carolina was shot after he allegedly assaulted the man who rescued him from the lake. The man and an unnamed woman were thrown off their jet ski moments before the fatal shooting. tarasov_vl/iStock

Updated 03/21/2022, 12:26 p.m. ET: This story has been updated with comments from the Oconee County Sheriff's Office.