Gunman accused of shooting ex admits he lied about aiming at bear, authorities say

A Virginia man was arrested Tuesday, accused of deliberately shooting his former boyfriend despite initially telling investigators he had been aiming at a bear, a report said.

Maurice D. Lee, 26, of Suffolk, was charged with one count of assault with intent to commit murder, authorities said, adding that he could get 20 years in prison if convicted.

Lee reported that a shooting had taken place May 12 in the Great Dismal Swamp Refuge, which he visited with the ex, identified by authorities only as M.J., the Virginian-Pilot of Norfolk reported.

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When officers arrived, they found M.J. lying face down with a single gunshot wound, the newspaper reported.

Lee told police that when he and M.J. were walking along a trail, a bear began following M.J., so Lee said he attempted to shoot the animal but hit M.J. instead, the newspaper reported.

Maurice D. Lee, 26, of Suffolk, Va., is charged with one count of assault with intent to commit murder, authorities say. (Western Tidewater Regional Jail)

Maurice D. Lee, 26, of Suffolk, Va., is charged with one count of assault with intent to commit murder, authorities say. (Western Tidewater Regional Jail)

But at a hospital, M.J. told investigators that his relationship with Lee had sometimes been abusive so he left for Pennsylvania, but returned to Virginia to collect some belongings. During the visit, Lee suggested they have a picnic at the refuge, according to the newspaper.

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After M.J. was shot, he told authorities, Lee walked over to him and said, “Oh, you’re still breathing?,” according to the paper.

Lee later admitted lying about the bear story, then claimed instead that the two men were “tussling” when the gun suddenly went off.

Click here to read more from the Virginian-Pilot.