FAIRFIELD, Pa. — A Pennsylvania Game Commission officer investigating reports of nighttime shooting and possible poaching was shot to death, sparking a search for a man police say should be considered armed and dangerous.
Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove, 31, was fatally shot Thursday night in Freedom Township, southwest of Gettysburg, game commission officials said Friday.
State police were searching for a 27-year-old man they wanted to interview about the shooting. Authorities labeled the man, Christopher Lynn Johnson, a "person of interest." He might be injured and in need of medical treatment and should be considered armed and dangerous, authorities said. Police also were looking for a 1999 blue Chevrolet pickup.
"This was a malicious act," game commission spokesman Jerry Feaser told The Associated Press. The last time a game commission officer was killed in the line of duty was 1915, he said.
Game commission executive director Carl Roe called Grove "a bright, young officer" dedicated to promoting Pennsylvania's hunting heritage.
"Our prayers and thoughts go out to WCO Grove's family and friends, as we mourn the loss of one of our own," he said.
Adams County Coroner Pat Felix said an autopsy was under way to determine the cause and manner of death, but she said it appeared Grove had been shot to death.
Online court records list a Christopher Lynn Johnson with a history of burglary convictions and a 2005 guilty plea to a charge of fleeing an officer and endangering the welfare of children.
Grove graduated from Penn State University in 2004 with a bachelor's degree in wildlife and fisheries science, according to the game commission.
The last game commission officer to be shot and killed in the line of duty was Joseph McHugh in Weatherly, Carbon County, on Nov. 7, 1915.
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