Parking dispute sparked shooting, court docs say

Sep. 29—A parking dispute outside of a south Kalispell retail outlet sparked the Sept. 27 shooting that left one man hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the abdomen and another man facing a felony charge, according to newly filed court documents.

Prosecutors filed an assault with a weapon charge against John David Walker, 70, of Dayton in Flathead County District Court on Sept. 29, two days after the shooting near U.S. 93. Kalispell Police officers, responding to reports of an assault involving a weapon about 4:30 p.m., took Walker into custody at the scene, according to a department press release.

The victim, who was hospitalized after the shooting, told investigators that his discovery of a red truck parked in the handicapped ramp of Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply sparked the incident, according to an affidavit filed in district court. He approached the owner, identified as Walker, and the two exchanged words, court documents said.

After the words turned to expletives, the victim allegedly shoved his shopping cart down the ramp. It came to a rest against the bumper of Walker's truck, court documents said.

Walker drew a gun following the collision and leveled it at the victim, court documents said. In response, the victim allegedly struck him in the head and Walker fired the gun.

Officers arrested Walker after arriving in the parking lot, taking a loaded magazine from him, and initially took him to the Kalispell Police Department, court documents said. Making a phone call at the station, Walker said he had been arrested for shooting in self-defense, according to court documents.

One witness recalled seeing the victim punch Walker prior to hearing two gunshots, according to court documents. Another witness told investigators he saw Walker shooting toward the parking lot. Walker surrendered the weapon upon his request, he said, and asserted he fired after the victim swore at him and struck him, according to court documents. That witness also spoke with the victim, who acknowledged striking Walker, court documents said.

Walker, who is being held in the county jail with bail set at $20,000, is expected to appear before Judge Dan Wilson for his arraignment on Oct. 5. Assault with a weapon is punishable by up to 20 years in Montana State Prison and a $50,000 fine.

News Editor Derrick Perkins can be reached at 758-4430 or