Last Thursday, an investigation into a poaching incident turned deadly. Pennsylvania Game Commission Officer David Grove was investigating possible poaching activity when he observed a spotlight and a rifle coming out of a pickup truck, which resulted in a traffic stop. According to investigators, the suspect driver of the pickup exited the vehicle and a confrontation began. The suspect and the officer exchanged gun-fire, leaving the suspect wounded in the hip and Officer Grove mortally wounded. He died 45 minutes later.
The suspect fled the scene in his vehicle, then later abandoned it and fled on foot. Later, he asked for help from a passing motorist. The motorist, unaware of the gunfight, took the suspect to a hunting camp where he was later apprehended.
According to charging documents, the suspect admitted that he was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and did not want to go back to prison. When asked if he knew he had shot a police officer, he responded, “No, I thought it was a game warden.”
Prosecutors are now charging the suspect in Officer Grove’s killing with first-degree murder-criminal homicide, possession of a firearm, possessing a firearm without a license, possession of an instrument of crime, flight to avoid apprehension, and wildlife regulations violations. They plan to seek the death penalty. “If a law enforcement officer is intentionally killed in the line of duty, that is grounds to seek the death penalty,” said Adams County District Attorney Shawn Wagner. The suspect is being held without bail due to the seriousness of the charges against him.
Source: Gettysburg Times: Death possible for Johnson; Scot Andrew Pitzer; 11/16/2010