PLYMOUTH TWP. — A state Fish and Boat Commission officer fatally shot a Nanticoke man who attacked and tried to drown him Tuesday afternoon along the Susquehanna River near Canal Street Park, authorities said.
Assistant District Attorney Sam Sanguedolce offered few details during a brief press conference around 4 p.m. in the park. He said the officer was on routine patrol when he came in contact with the other man, later identified by police as Sean Bohinski, 37.
“For some reason, a fight ensued with that male. The officer was struck repeatedly and so far the evidence tends to indicate that there may have been an attempt to drown that officer. The officer discharged his weapon. He struck the individual who is now deceased,” said Sanguedolce.
He said there is no reason to believe other people were involved as initially thought by State Police who provide coverage for Plymouth Township and responded to the call around 1:30 p.m.
A State Police helicopter and multiple units and troopers searched the wooded areas along the river for several hours. The Pennsylvania Game Commission assisted troopers.
A neighbor said she saw the Fish and Boat officer — officially known as a waterways conservation officer — bleeding from the head and believed he was hit by rocks.
In fact, troopers say Bohinski had hit the officer several times in the head with a rock, causing severe injuries before the officer was able to draw his firearm and shoot Bohinski.
The officer, who was not identified, then performed first aid on the suspect and called for medical help.
“I heard two gunshots. I was in the house with the doors closed,” said neighbor Jessica Reiss.
“I didn’t think anything of it,” said Reiss, adding she’s heard gunshots along the river before.
But then she came out and saw the officer.
“He was holding the back of his head,” she recalled.
Sanguedolce was uncertain how many shots were fired.
“It was more than one,” he said.
Investigators don’t know of witnesses to the shooting and are trying to determine if the attacker was armed.
“That’s currently under investigation,” said Sanguedolce. “There is information that he may have had a weapon of some kind. But again, he did strike the officer repeatedly and the evidence reveals that there probably was an attempt to drown the officer.”
A Nanticoke ambulance with lights activated left the park just before 2 p.m.
The officer involved was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
Police responded quickly to the 911 dispatch and converged on the area in marked and unmarked vehicles.
State Police Capt. Jon Nederostek said “the support was overwhelming.”
“You know anytime an officer whether it be State Police, local police or in this case, Fish and Boat Commission, they’re there to enforce the law. When they’re attacked, it’s an attack on all of us. So we take the cases very seriously as we do any case,” said Sanguedolce.
The Luzerne County Coroner’s Office removed Bohinski’s body from the scene around 5:15 p.m.