Tionesta man shot to death in Forest County

A Tionesta man was fatally shot late Thursday night in Marienville, and a Greensburg man has been charged with homicide.

Brian Schill, 45, was found shot at the Kelly Hotel in Marienville and was pronounced dead at the scene at about 12:45 a.m. Friday, according to a news release from Forest County Coroner Norm Wimer’s office.

A criminal complaint filed by Marienville state police said Schill was shot twice by Richard Gardner Jr., 36, after the two became involved in a physical altercation in the parking lot of the hotel.

Wimer said an autopsy performed later Friday determined Schill died of the gunshot wounds to his head and chest. The manner of death was ruled a homicide, Wimer said.

Gardner came to visit his girlfriend, who lives at the Kelly Hotel, on Thursday, according to the complaint.

When he arrived she wasn’t home and she didn’t answer the phone when he called, so he waited for her, the complaint said.

When she arrived at the Kelly Hotel a little before midnight Thursday she was with Schill, who she had formerly been in a relationship with for several years, the complaint said.

When Gardner saw them together he and Schill quickly became involved in a physical altercation, the complaint said.

Gardner told police he shot Schill in self defense after Schill pushed him and he struck his head off the pavement. At that point Schill got on top of Gardner and began striking him, the complaint said.

Investigating trooper Joshua Thorpe couldn’t find any injury on the back of Gardner’s head where he said he was injured, the complaint noted.

The complaint said Gardner’s girlfriend told police she was planning to break up with Gardner and that he told police he suspected something was up so he came to confront her.

The complaint also noted that the woman told police she was surprised to see Gardner because she always knew when Gardner was planning to come visit her and that he parked in the front of the building.

Gardner didn’t tell her he was coming Thursday and he parked in the back of the building, the complaint said.

Gardner said he parked in the back so he could walk his dog even though he knew dogs aren’t allowed in the Kelly Hotel. He didn’t bring his dog with him during previous visits, the complaint said.

Several neighbors heard the shots and saw Gardner and his girlfriend in the parking lot and Schill on the ground a few minutes before midnight Thursday, the complaint said.

Gardner’s girlfriend said it was common for Gardner to be armed, according to the complaint.

Wimer said the woman wasn’t injured during the altercation between Schill and Gardner.

In addition to Marienville state police, Forest County Coroner Norm Wimer, Chief Deputy Coroner Cody Magill and District Attorney Alyce Busch responded to the scene.

Gardner has been charged with a felony count of criminal homicide.

He was arraigned Friday before district judge Daniel Miller and placed in the Warren County jail with bail denied.

His preliminary hearing is scheduled at 9 a.m. Tuesday, June 2, before district judge Daniel Miller.