PA: Man allegedly shoots hunter, takes money and methamphetamine before calling for help

https://www.northcentralpa.com/news/man-allegedly-shoots-hunter-takes-money-and-methamphetamine-before-calling-for-help/article_31bf59a4-cd55-11ec-bc2e-e3e4c30f3413.html

05/06/2022

An investigation into a man being shot in the neck led officers with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to the discover the illegal killing of a deer and a robbery.

The incident also led to criminal charges being pursued against Michael Matthew Walnock on May 3 after investigators said he lied about the incident that took place on Jan. 14 of 2021. The 47-year-old Ashland resident told investigators the man was shot by a third person who was not identified.

When officers spoke with the accuser, who recovered after having a bullet fragment removed from their neck, they were allegedly told Walnock was the shooter. According to the affidavit, Walnock shot the accuser and took $100 from his wallet along with a baggie of methamphetamine.

An antlerless deer that had to be euthanized was discovered near the area where Walnock said he located the accuser. According to Turner, the animal was illegally shot out of season.

Authorities said they collected six bags of evidence in total as they investigated the scene and spoke with the accuser at the hospital.  Investigators said after being released and asked to return, Walnock arrived at the scene in a different vehicle.

Walnock turned over ammunition to authorities he had allegedly benn using throughout the day. Walnock stated both men arrived in the area of Spruce Street and used flashlights to stay in touch on the land as they hunted coyotes.

Walnock stated he witnessed the accuser shoot a coyote and attempt to locate it near a recently mowed part of the trail.

While speaking with authorities, Walnock allegedly stated he called 911 immediately after he discovered of the accuser and remained on the line to help EMS finding their location. After a walkthrough of the area with Walnock, authorities released him for a second time.

According to Turner, while authorities questioned Walnock a search warrant was executed on his property. Officers searched Walnock’s F-150 pickup truck and seized two rifles and ammunition. They also photographed the interior of the vehicle.

Turner said a phone interview was conducted with the accuser on Jan. 21, 2021 after they were able to recover from their injuries.

“During this interview, (accuser) was asked if he knew who shot him and he stated ‘Mike’,” Turner wrote.

According to the affidavit, Turner followed up with a question of “Mike Walnock?” to which the accuser allegedly replied “yes” during the interview. The accuser stated to Turner “no one else was around, no other hunters” after being asked if there was possibly a third person, according to the report.

An in-person interview was conducted on Feb. 4, 2021 to which the accuser stated they had used methamphetamine with Walnock during the day. The accuser stated Walnock had shot an antlerless deer. According to the report, the accuser said Walnock then shot them before he took their wallet and methamphetamine.

Turner said Walnock stated he called 911 immediately after he found the accuser. A review of his 911 call on the morning of the incident showed his statements to police were inconsistent.

A public court summary showed Walnock was charged on May 3 of this year with felony aggravated assault and five separate misdemeanors that included recklessly endangering another person, tamper with evidence, shot at kill injure human hunting, fail render assistance after hunting accident, and intentional possession of a controlled substance. No bail was listed for Walnock, who is scheduled to appear before Judge Doug Brewer on June 28 for a preliminary hearing.

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