A Whidbey Island man is accused of shooting a woman in the head with a pellet gun because she and others wouldn’t stop feeding raw chicken to bald eagles, according to court documents.
The man claims he was aiming at the eagles.
Prosecutors charged Christopher A. Wiklof, 59, in Island County Superior Court July 19 with assault in the third degree.
On July 15, deputies were dispatched to investigate the shooting on Witter Beach Place in Langley.
According to their report, the incident began after the 38-year-old victim and two other people threw chicken legs on the beach for the eagles to eat.
Wiklof, a neighbor, angrily demanded that they stop. He said he believed his dog had gotten sick from eating raw chicken previously left on the beach.
When the people in the group refused to stop, Wiklof went to his house and retrieved a pellet gun. He starting shooting at the group and hit the woman in the head, which caused pain and bleeding, the police report says.
Wiklof told a deputy sheriff that he was shooting at the eagles and didn’t aim the air-powered rifle at any people.
A witness, however, said there were no eagles around at the time, though he did see Wiklof shoot at an eagle previously.
Though no longer an endangered species, bald eagles remain protected under federal law. Shooting at eagles can result in fines and imprisonment.