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Soap Lake man injured in gunfire exchange

by STAFF REPORT
Staff Report | July 2, 2024 1:15 AM

SOAP LAKE — A Soap Lake man was airlifted to Confluence Health-Central Washington Hospital, Wenatchee, early Monday morning after he exchanged gunfire with people he allegedly found on his property. 

A dog was also wounded and was treated at Pioneer Vet Clinic in Moses Lake. 

Justin Hahnlen, 42, was hit by gunfire after confronting three people he found on his property, according to a release from the Grant County Sheriff’s Office.

The incident occurred at about 3:40 a.m. near Road 16.2 NE, southeast of Soap Lake.

Hahnlen allegedly confronted the subjects who were driving around the area, and found Nicholas Brown, 39, Ephrata, on his property, the press release said. Hahnlen and Johnthan Martinez, 41, Marlin, detained Brown, it said. Hahnlen then approached the vehicle, a Dodge Ram occupied by Max Reeves, 26, Quincy, and Erin Belt, 25, Ephrata.

“As Justin approached the pickup, gunshots were exchanged,” the release said. “Justin was struck in the upper chest. A dog from the truck was also hit.”

Hahnlen was loaded into a vehicle and met by deputies at Road 16NE and Stratford Road. Personnel from Grant County Fire District 5, Grant County Fire District 7 and Lifeline Ambulance responded and treated him. He was listed in stable condition Monday afternoon. The dog was treated at Pioneer Vet Clinic and is in stable condition.

The incident is still under investigation. No arrests had been made as of Monday night.