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Columbia County Courthouse

A stalled investigation of a June 2022 fatal shooting in Dayton is expected to move forward, Columbia County Prosecuting Attorney Dale Slack said.

A coroner’s inquest could be the next step.

It’s been almost nine months since Jason W. Bomar, 23, of Dayton, was arrested in connection to the shooting death of 53-year-old Walla Walla resident Christopher Gonzales.

However, formal charges against Bomar were never filed.

State law requires the prosecutor’s office to file charges within 72 hours of a suspect’s arrest if that suspect is in jail or is out on any conditional release.

After 72 hours, Slack was not ready to file charges, so Bomar was granted unconditional release.

At the time, Slack said his release didn’t mean charges were not going to be filed later.

“In the interest of fairness to victims, survivors and the accused, it is the practice of this office to only file charges after a full investigation and thorough consideration of the evidence,” Slack said. “Information is still being gathered and reviewed in this matter … This is in no way a final decision on charging.”

Later, in the wake of the release, Slack’s office, which normally consists of himself and two deputies, lost one deputy, Cindy L. Horowitz, in August. Then, Chief Deputy Prosecuting Attorney April King left in December and suddenly Slack was doing three jobs.

Now, with Slack’s February hiring of new deputy Kent Bigler and March hiring of new chief deputy Jennine E. Christensen, Slack said he has time to give the shooting case another look.

In February, he told the Union-Bulletin that he’s considering having a coroner’s inquest performed.

“I’ve been meaning to get together a coroner’s inquest on that,” Slack said. “I have just absolutely not had the time or the ability to get up to speed on doing that. I probably will have to call in another county’s coroner.”

Slack said charges could still be filed against Bomar.

According to the arrest report at the time, Bomar lived with his mother in the 100 block of East Washington Avenue in Dayton. Gonzales was his mother’s boyfriend.

Deputies received a report of shots fired at the home about 6 p.m. Monday, June 20, 2022. At the scene, Bomar’s mother told deputies that her son had shot her boyfriend, according to the arrest report.

Deputies found Gonzales inside the house with a gunshot wound to the chest. He was transported to Dayton General Hospital, where he later died.

Bomar was taken into custody, and while being interviewed, he told police that his mom told him to get his gun because Gonzales had hit her, according to the arrest report. He said an altercation then took place.

Bomar was arrested Monday, June 20, for investigation of first-degree manslaughter, which, unlike a murder charge, does not require that the suspect intended to kill but that they “recklessly” caused the death of another person.

Jeremy Burnham can be reached at or 509-526-8321.


Jeremy covers courts, public safety and education for the Union-Bulletin. He graduated from Eastern Washington University in 2019 with a degree in journalism. He pursued a career in journalism in his 30s because he feels real, dependable news is important now more than ever. He aims to shine a light on both the good and bad that happens in the Valley. He is a big fan of all the EWU sports teams. Jeremy grew up in California but has lived in eastern Washington since 2001. When he’s not working, Jeremy loves spending time with his wife, Hanna, and their Goldendoodle, Nala. Follow Jeremy on Twitter @ub_jeremy.  

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