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One dead, another wounded in shooting near town of Bickleton

CLEVELAND - There are more questions than answers today as investigators attempt to unravel the series of events that led to a fatal shooting in Cleveland yesterday.

The small community near Bickleton, better known as the locale for Washington state’s oldest rodeo, was the scene of a shooting Tuesday morning that killed Norman A. Luening, 79. Injured in the shooting was Ronald R. Carlsen, 53.

The Klickitat County Sheriff’s office was dispatched to Luening’s home in the 100 block of Lee Street in Cleveland at about 11:15 a.m. yesterday following a report of a gunshot victim presumed dead.

Upon arrival, deputies determined Luening had suffered a fatal gunshot wound to the head.

Carlsen was also found by deputies with a life-threatening gunshot wound to the head and transported to Klickitat Valley Hospital in Goldendale. The sheriff’s office reports Carlsen was subsequently transferred to Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, Ore.

Patrick Kaley is the chief criminal deputy for the Klickitat County Sheriff’s office, and he says a full investigation is underway with assistance from the Washington State Patrol Crime Laboratory.

At this time the cause for the shooting is unknown, though Klickitat County Sheriff Rick McComas said this morning there was apparently not a third party involved in the shooting.

He emphasizes there’s no reason for the public to be fearful.

McComas added, “We have not been able to find any resident in the communities (of Cleveland and Bickleton) that can indicate how something like this could or would occur. It leaves us waiting for the investigation.”

McComas says two firearms were located at the scene of the shooting and that forensic results from the state crime lab will determine whether either was involved.

As to why the shooting took place or which party was responsible, McComas says answers to those questions will have to wait as well.

“There had been a minor disagreement between them in the past, but even family members at this point have been unable to provide a reason for what happened,” he said.

McComas says in his 30 years of experience this was the first type of shooting incident in the Bickleton area other than hunting accidents.

“It’s a very unusual set of circumstances,” he says. “It’s extremely traumatic for the families and the small communities.”

Anyone with information regarding the shooting incident is asked to call the Klickitat County Sheriff’s office toll-free at (877) 288-1926 or (509) 773-4455.

“We are seeking information from the public,” says McComas. “Hopefully there was a motorist passing by the scene who saw something.”

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