Coyote or game warden? Ohio man charged in Pennsylvania for shooting at law enforcement officials

An Ohio man who claimed he was hunting coyotes in northeastern Pennsylvania while wearing a bulletproof vest is facing multiple charges after he opened fire on another man and a game warden, according to arrest records and court documents.

The incident occurred around noon on November 25th at a hunting ground in Pike County in northeastern Pennsylvania, near the New York border.

According to documents provided to The Dispatch, it was the opening day of deer hunting season and a game warden and deputy game warden were in the area. The game warden was speaking with the deputy game warden and another hunter when he heard gunfire nearby, according to the affidavit.

“We had enough time to comment on what we had just heard before a barrage of bullets began flying close to us,” the prison warden said in a statement, adding that after the shots were fired, the three men fell to the ground for cover after seeing branches falling nearby.

The chief said he managed to get into his patrol car and turn on his siren, and the shooting stopped almost immediately.

The chief and deputy went to the area where they believed they heard gunfire and encountered Roman Kartsev, 44, of Columbus’ Far North Side, and a man from Brooklyn, N.Y. According to the affidavit, Kartsev was wearing an orange hat and bulletproof vest and was carrying a handgun.

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The other man was wearing an orange vest and bulletproof helmet and was carrying an AK-47-style rifle, according to the affidavit.

Game officials spoke with the men, who said they “thought they were shooting at coyotes and were shooting at anything that moved,” and that Kaltsev was wearing a bulletproof vest in case other hunters fired at him, according to the affidavit.

The men said they did not go into the woods to see if they had actually shot a coyote, but instead showed authorities where they were standing when the shots were fired, which was the general area where the gunfire began at the game wardens, according to the affidavit.

The men, who said they were novice hunters and had taken an online training course, said they thought they saw coyote movement so they opened fire, firing every round of ammunition — 15 rounds from a handgun and 30 rounds from a rifle, according to the affidavit.

Neither weapon was authorized for deer hunting, and the men did not have the proper permits to use them for fur harvesting, according to the affidavit.

Both men face multiple criminal charges, including recklessly endangering another person, discharging a firearm indiscriminately, using a semi-automatic rifle or handgun, and multiple hunting violations.

The men have been issued summonses to appear in court and a hearing is scheduled for early February.

Bethany Bruner

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