Wildlife officer fatally shoots man trying to drown him

Authorities said Sean Bohinski, 37, assaulted and tried to drown a Pa. wildlife officer before the officer fatally shot him

By Bob Kalinowski
The Citizens' Voice, Wilkes-Barre, Pa.

PLYMOUTH TWP., Pa. — A Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission officer fatally shot a Nanticoke man in a wooded area along the Susquehanna River in West Nanticoke on Tuesday afternoon after the suspect assaulted and tried to drown him, prosecutors say.

The officer, who was not immediately named, encountered Sean Bohinski, 37, during a routine patrol of the riverbank near Canal Street, just off U.S. Route 11, authorities said.

“For some reason, a fight ensued with the male. The officer was struck repeatedly,” Luzerne County First Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce said earlier in the day.

Bohinski was pronounced dead at the scene. An autopsy is slated for this morning.

The officer was taken to an area hospital for treatment for his injuries, Sanguedolce said. A press release issued by state police at Wyoming late Tuesday indicated the officer was undergoing treatment for injuries sustained in the assault.

Sanguedolce said it’s standard for Fish and Boat Commission officers to be armed on patrol.

State police investigators are probing the circumstances behind the shooting.

“Obviously, it’s very early in this investigation,” Sanguedolce said.

Capt. John Nederostek, commanding officer of state police at Wyoming, said detectives from throughout the troop have been assigned to the case.

The shooting occurred in a wooded area of Plymouth Twp. off Route 11 near the Flamingo Diner and the Canal Street Park.

Authorities initially said they were looking for a possible second suspect and deployed a helicopter for the search. But they later said they no longer believe there was another person involved.

Several law enforcement officials on scene said Bohinski was bashing the officer’s head with a rock during the scuffle and before the officer opened fire.

State police indicated that after stopping the assault, the officer performed life-saving first aid procedures and called for emergency assitance.

During a press briefing, Sanguedolce only would say there “is information he may have had a weapon of some kind.”

“Again, he did strike the officer repeatedly and the evidence reveals that there probably was an attempt to drown the officer,” Sanguedolce said.

Jessica Reiss, 33, who lives on Canal Street by the river, said she heard two gunshots and then saw the officer emerge from the wooded area. He was holding his bloodied head, she said.

“They must have something to run from if they would attack an officer,” Reiss said.

Sanguedolce said an attack on a Fish and Boat Commission officer is like an assault on any other form of law enforcement.

“They are there to enforce the law,” Sanguedolce said. “When they are attacked, it’s an attack on all of us. We take these cases very seriously.”

©2017 The Citizens' Voice (Wilkes-Barre, Pa.)

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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