Boater Tried to Save Man in Water, Then 'Had to Shoot Him'

911 calls released from woman whose husband had to fend off drunk attacker, say police
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 11, 2022 10:29 AM CDT
911 Calls Reveal Scary Lake Struggle, Shooting
A file photo of Lake Keowee in South Carolina.   (Ken Ruinard/The Independent Mail via AP)

The bare-bones police description of a fatal shooting on a South Carolina lake was strange enough. A couple in a boat pulled aboard another couple who'd fallen off their jet ski, but the man from the jet ski began attacking his saviors, say police. At one point, the man from the jet ski was even pushed back into the lake, only to be rescued again, only to begin attacking his saviors again, say police. The male boater, 74, ended up shooting the male jet skier, 29, in what police say was a clear case of self-defense. No charges are being filed. Now, 911 calls reveal just how harrowing the incident was in real time, per Fox News, WSPA, and WYFF.

  • The shooting involves Nathan Drew Morgan, 29; his jet ski passenger, Hannah Ayers, 19; and boaters John and Debra Dotson, ages 74 and 70, respectively.

  • "We have a drunk in our boat trying to hurt us!" Debra Dotson tells a dispatcher.
  • "Hurry, please hurry. We can't take it much longer," Debra Dotson says. "He's attacking us. He's already broken something in the boat. (We) dragged him out of the water after he wrecked his jet ski and now, he's fighting my husband. Hurry." Police say Morgan was agitated over the loss of his jet ski and wanted to retrieve it.
  • "He just had to shoot him, please hurry!" Debra Dotson shouts. "Oh my God, he's shot now. ... My husband had to shoot him—(Morgan was) trying to choke him and knock him out of the boat!"
  • "Listen, you don't understand," Debra Dotson tells the dispatcher. "He's sitting in our captain's chair in the boat, and he's gasping for air—I think it's his dying breath." Later: "C'mon, boy, don't die."
  • "He's really drunk right now," Ayers tells the dispatcher at one point when asked if Morgan was intoxicated. Morgan's slurred speech could be heard in the background of the calls before the shooting.
(More shooting stories.)

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