New Jersey man charged in accidental shooting

PORTER TOWNSHIP – A New Jersey man has been charged with the accidental shooting of a fellow deer hunter last December in Porter Township.

Steven J. Stankiewicz Sr., 52, of Villas, New Jersey, is charged with shooting at, injuring or killing a human being while hunting, a second-degree misdemeanor.

Court documents say Game Commission wildlife conservation officer Steven J. Ace was summoned at 8:19 a.m. Dec. 1 to an area near the intersection of Pyne and Blair roads in Porter Township. State police troopers Mark Graf and Ryan Wilson were already on the scene.

The victim of the shooting was still at the scene being treated in an ambulance for shrapnel wounds to his arm and a bullet wound to his leg.

The shooting victim told Ace he was sitting in a tree stand when he heard one gun shot and then felt pain in his left leg.

The victim also told Ace he believed Stankiewicz shot him, the documents said.

Ace conducted interviews with hunters from both hunting parties and all agreed three shots were fired.

Stankiewicz admitted he had fired three shots earlier, the documents said.

Stankiewicz took Ace to the location where Stankiewicz had fired the three shots from his Remington 760 Game Master 30.06-caliber rifle, according to the documents. Stankiewicz said he left his tree stand about 7:30 a.m. and walked northeast and returned to his tree stand via the same route.

Stankiewicz said he encountered a group of several deer coming from the direction of his tree stand, one of which was a large antlered deer.

The documents say Stankiewicz said he fired at the antlered deer but missed. The deer were between Stankiewicz and the victim’s location.

Ace reports that at the time of the shooting Stankiewicz and the victim were 277 yards apart.

The documents say the deer were on the skyline when Stankiewicz fired his rifle and there was no natural backstop or terrain behind the deer to stop the bullets.

Ace reported that Stankiewicz said he fired his first shot before realizing the opaque scope cover was down on his rifle scope. Stankiewicz said he flipped the scope cover open and fired two more shots at the deer.

The scope on the rifle was set at eight-power.

Ace reported he determined the first shot from Stankiewicz’s rifle struck the victim.

Stankiewicz told Ace he heard the victim say he had been shot. Stankiewicz said he hurried to the victim and was the first person to arrive at the victim’s location.

Stankiewicz said he called 911 immediately. Ace reported Stankiewicz admitted he shot the victim.

Stankiewicz is scheduled for an April 21 preliminary hearing. Court records do not include any arraignment or bail information. There are no online court records indicating Stankiewicz has ever been charged with any other kind of violations in Pennsylvania.

According to Pennsylvania Code 34, if convicted of the offense, in addition to any penalties prescribed by law for the second-degree misdemeanor, Stankiewicz could face the loss of Pennsylvania hunting privileges for five to 10 years.