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No charges for bear hunter who killed Red Lion man

ELIZABETH EVANS The York Dispatch
Posted: 12/10/2009 02:27:14 PM EST




No charges will be filed against the bear hunter who fatally shot Red Lion resident Frank N. Shaffer during an argument over trespassing a little more than two weeks ago in Jefferson County, state police said.

Shaffer, 63, of South Main Street, and his family own land in a remote area of Beaver Township, Jefferson County, according to state police in Punxsutawney. He was killed on that land Nov. 24.

On Thursday, state police announced the investigation into the incident has been closed, and that no charges will be filed against Paul H. Plyler, 23, of Summerville, who fired one shot at Shaffer and killed him after being shot twice by Shaffer.

State police said Shaffer encountered Plyler and four other people, all hunting bear on Shaffer's property the morning of Nov. 24. After ordering the men to leave his property, Shaffer left the area, police said.

A short time later, Shaffer again encountered Plyler and two of the other hunters. At that point, he displayed a semi-automatic rifle and, following a verbal altercation, fired it, police said.

Victim fired: Shaffer was the first to fire a gun during the confrontation, according to police.

Plyler was struck in the wrist and "immediately" began to retreat, police said, but Shaffer fired at least three more rounds at Plyler, one of which struck Plyler in the back.

After he was shot the second time, Plyler returned fire, discharging one round and killing Shaffer, police said.

Plyler was taken


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in a private vehicle to a hospital in nearby Brookville, police said; he survived his wounds.
The investigation into the shootout was conducted by state police and reviewed by Jefferson County District Attorney Jeffrey Burkett, who made the determination that charges would not be filed, police said.

Summerville is about 15 miles from Punxsutawney and about 60 miles northeast of Pittsburgh. Police described the scene of the shootout as very remote.
 

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Does the article say whether they were still on his property when the second encounter took place? Irregardless,sad that it ended with blood shed.
 

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Does the article say whether they were still on his property when the second encounter took place? Irregardless,sad that it ended with blood shed.
Says he was killed on his property..

Am I the only one who noticed that he told them to leave then went and got a gun and again confronted them.. This was a smaller property, while we'll never know the truth of what happened as one side is deceased. It sure seems to have taken them a long time to get off his property and I wonder why he felt he needed to get a gun before confronting them again.Randy
 

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over a damn bear,thats really sad something like this happened
Had nothing to do with a bear, it had to do with trespassing. Unfortunately, the landowner took it too far. Way too far. He should have just had them fined.
 

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Live by the Sword, Perish by the sword

If someonewas shooting at me he would not have gotten a second shot off.


Prayers for the hunters.

Good shooting !:darkbeer:
 

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If someonewas shooting at me he would not have gotten a second shot off.


Prayers for the hunters.

Good shooting !:darkbeer:
Can't believe you said that.. My opinion of you is in the basement.

Gee the other guy is dead of course he shot first. Like i said we'll never know the whole story as half of it is 6 feet under. Randy
 

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Had nothing to do with a bear, it had to do with trespassing. Unfortunately, the landowner took it too far. Way too far. He should have just had them fined.
sure it did the guys were trespassing on his property to bear hunt therefore it did have something to do with a bear and i agree the landowner was completley in the wrong to fire his gun at someone for trespassing
 

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Can't believe you said that.. My opinion of you is in the basement.

Gee the other guy is dead of course he shot first. Like i said we'll never know the whole story as half of it is 6 feet under. Randy
So did he get shot dead first before he fired at the tresspasser. This response confuses me. Landowner fired multiple shots. Hunter fired one. NOt sure how it could have happened with the hunter shooting first.
 

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sure it did the guys were trespassing on his property to bear hunt therefore it did have something to do with a bear and i agree the landowner was completley in the wrong to fire his gun at someone for trespassing
Bear, deer, rabbit, or turkey........they were trespassing.

I do not blame the young man for shooting to save his own life. Trespassing is NOT an offense that deserves being shot. Trespassing is a serious offense though, and the penalties should be much higher than they are currently.

Many states have serious trespassing problems, and I have yet to see that problem any worse than it is here in PA.

The party may have been bear hunting in this case, but it was not a bear that started the confrontation.
 

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If someonewas shooting at me he would not have gotten a second shot off.


Prayers for the hunters.

Good shooting !:darkbeer:
The hunters were illegally hunting on someone else's property and you're condoning their actions. They were acting illegally when THEY killed someone so THEY should have been given a pass to the graybar hotel and a murder charge. When did the laws change to say a landowner can't defend his/her property? The hunters are lucky this wasn't TX or they'd be hanging from the flagpole...
 

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The hunters were illegally hunting on someone else's property and you're condoning their actions. They were acting illegally when THEY killed someone so THEY should have been given a pass to the graybar hotel and a murder charge. When did the laws change to say a landowner can't defend his/her property? The hunters are lucky this wasn't TX or they'd be hanging from the flagpole...
I am the first person who will agree that this would not have happened if they were not trespassing. Trespassing alone is no reason to be shot.....even in Texas.

As much as I feel sorry for the deceased landowner and his family, the man should have been more careful with his weapon. Having a visible weapon was fine.....pointing in the direction of the trespassers was not. I have heard from people close to the investigation state that the first shot may have been an accidental discharge, and things went immediately downhill from there.

In any event, there would have been no shooting if the hunters would not have trespassed. We need seriously tougher laws in this area, and we need them enforced. The landowner would have been much better off if he had used a camera and prosecuted these guys instead of shooting.
 

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So did he get shot dead first before he fired at the tresspasser. This response confuses me. Landowner fired multiple shots. Hunter fired one. NOt sure how it could have happened with the hunter shooting first.
Um if we were both holding guns and I pointed mine at you would you wait to see if I was really going to shoot.. Land owner was shot and left to die.. I've said it twice now we wont know the full story as the land owner was left to die by these trespassers. It shouldn't have come to shooting but it did and a man is dead because hunters refuse to stop trespassing and yes his land was posted Etc. The hunters were locals so more than likely knew where they were. Randy
 

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So, the summary:

Hunters trespass

Landowner asks them to leave

Hunters refuse

Landowner returns with gun

Confrontation / Argument

Landowner shoots

Hunter shoots

Landowner dead

Hunter in hospital

And the truth is somewhere out there...​

All of you guys who recently said that it was OK to trespass should keep this incident in mind. You never know when the guy across the fence is going to snap - it could be you who is involved next time. Just saying...

Nobody wins in this situation.
 

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I hate it for the man who died BUT, if someone, anyone, anywhere for any reason starts shooting at me and I have have a weapon they are going to get shot if I'm able to shoot back. Now if someone is breaking into his house or trying to harm him or his family he has all the right to shoot first but if it is just for trespassing well then it is hard for me to find anyway to defend him.
 

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I agree with hdracer. The landowner was in a remote area and the trespassers had not left the land by the time he came back. Now he should not have shot at the man but all the blame is on the trespassers. If they had not been trespassing the landowner would still be alive today. The landowner gets my vote. The trespassers deserve to be punished for their actions. Their actions lead to the outcome. Sounds like the landowner gets no justice in this case.
 

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I agree with hdracer. The landowner was in a remote area and the trespassers had not left the land by the time he came back. Now he should not have shot at the man but all the blame is on the trespassers. If they had not been trespassing the landowner would still be alive today. The landowner gets my vote. The trespassers deserve to be punished for their actions and personally I wish it was the other way around and they the landowner killed them. Sounds like the landowner gets no justice in this case.
I'm sorry but if the landowner shot first he got the justice he deserved. If you are speeding on the highway and someone don't like it should they be able to shoot you? Both speeding and trespassing are against the law and speeding puts you in more danger than someone trespassing on your property does
 

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I'm sorry but if the landowner shot first he got the justice he deserved. If you are speeding on the highway and someone don't like it should they be able to shoot you? Both speeding and trespassing are against the law and speeding puts you in more danger than someone trespassing on your property does
Very few speeders have a loaded weapon hanging out the window with the intent of shooting at moving objects.
 
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