Plains shooting suspect blames errant bullet

Roger DuPuis rdupuis@civitasmedia.com

August 27, 2013

PLAINS TWP. — Christopher David Bohonko told police he was shooting at a woodchuck behind his house Sunday evening and had no idea that a .22-caliber bullet intended for the furry rodent instead struck a 73-year-old woman.

Bohonko, 31, of 117 Abbott St., faces misdemeanor charges of simple assault with a deadly weapon and reckless endangerment in connection with the incident that injured Dorothy Sarnick, also of Plains Township. Sarnick was transported to Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center for treatment after being shot in the arm.

Bohonko was arraigned before District Judge James E. Tupper in Kingston Township Tuesday afternoon and released on $5,000 unsecured bail.

Sarnick had just parked her vehicle near the running track at Leo E. Solomon Elementary School at about 7 p.m. and was turning off the ignition when she heard a “pop” and felt a burning sensation in her right arm, police said. Sarnick told police that the sound came from the north side of the track, near the baseball field, but that she did not see anyone suspicious.

A juvenile witness also told police she heard a shot-like sound come from the wooded area toward Abbott Street and dropped to the ground, but also did not see anyone suspicious, according to a police affidavit.

Bohonko called police Tuesday to report that he was responsible for a woman being shot two days earlier. In an interview at his home, Bohonko told police he did not know he had struck anyone until seeing news accounts on Monday, according to the affidavit.

“He then realized that the bullet must have ricocheted off of the woodchuck and continued on before striking the woman in the parking lot of the school. The defendant stated that at that time he felt terrible and wished to confess,” according to the affidavit. Bohonko was shooting at the woodchuck with a Remington rifle, according to court papers.

On the way into court, Bohonko responded to a reporter’s question only to say that he “did not mean to shoot that woman.” He said nothing more when approached by reporters after the brief proceeding.

Judge Tupper said police told him that Bohonko has been cooperative. A preliminary hearing was set for 8:45 a.m. Sept. 10 before District Judge Diana Malast.