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Victim identified in fatal New Year’s Day shooting near Lacey

The Thurston County Coroner’s Office has identified the man who was killed on New Year’s Day during a fight with his brother and two neighbors.

Michael A. Bates, 37, died of a single gunshot wound to the chest. The coroner has classified the death as a homicide.

The shooting took place about 7:15 a.m. Thursday in the 7400 block of Fair Oaks Loop Southeast, off the Yelm Highway east of Lacey. Bates and his brother were arguing outside when a 22-year-old male neighbor tried to intervene, according to the Thurston County Sheriff’s Office.

The three men began fighting, and another 22-year-old male, who was also armed with a pistol, came out to assist, according to the sheriff’s office.

During a struggle over the gun, one shot was fired into Bates’ chest. He died at the scene.

After an investigation, detectives determined that the shooter was defending himself when the weapon was fired, and no arrests were made, according to the sheriff’s office.

The sheriff’s office reports that both of the 22-year-old men are active-duty soldiers at Joint Base Lewis-McChord. Tracy Bailey, deputy public affairs officer at JBLM, said that the soldiers’ superiors will review their involvement in the incident starting Monday. Bailey was unable to say whether the soldiers had violated any policies.

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