|David Grove was investigating a suspected poacher.|
GETTYSBURG, Pa. — A Pennsylvania game warden was killed in a shootout with a suspected deer poacher, who was arrested with an apparent gunshot wound at a hunting camp about 11 hours later, officials said yesterday.
David L. Grove, a 31-year-old wildlife-conservation officer from Fairfield, was fatally shot after he pulled over Christopher Lynn Johnson late Thursday night near Gettysburg, police said. Grove had witnessed what he suspected was illegal night hunting with a spotlight and had pulled over Johnson’s truck at about 10:30 p.m., police said.
Grove called in the truck’s license plate before “a ferocious exchange of gunfire’’ occurred, State Police Commissioner Frank Pawlowski said. Johnson and a friend then fled, authorities said.
Johnson had an apparent gunshot wound to the hip when he was caught, police said, and he was treated at a hospital in York yesterday. Authorities recovered a dead spike buck near the crime scene.
Grove was pronounced dead at the scene. He had been shot four times, Adams County coroner Pat Felix said. He was the first Pennsylvania game warden killed in the line of duty in 95 years.
The license-plate number that Grove was able to call in “was a critical piece of information,’’ Pawlowski said.
“That gave us somewhere to go,’’ he said.
Johnson, 27, also of Fairfield, abandoned his vehicle and was limping on foot when he flagged down a motorist and asked for help. The motorist took him to the hunting camp, and police were waiting when he arrived yesterday morning. The truck was found nearby.
Johnson told police on the way to the hospital that he had shot Graves, authorities wrote in an affidavit.
“He advised that he was a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and did not want to go back to prison,’’ they wrote.