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PA: Hunter in critical condition after apparent accident

Hunter in critical condition after apparent accident in Robeson Township

By Steven Henshaw
Reading Eagle
1/27/2009 10:17:00 AM 

A 20-year-old man was in critical condition this morning in Reading Hospital, a day after he was shot in the head by his friend in an apparent hunting accident, officials said.

Robeson Township police Chief Mark T. Phillips identified the victim as Jared W. Speelhoffer. He said police didn't know Speelhoffer's address but believe he is from Lebanon County.

Speelhoffer's friend, Michael Schearer Jr., 21, Birdsboro, drove him a few blocks to the Birdsboro borough hall after the shooting Monday about 5:30 p.m. in a wooded area just south of the borough line in Robeson, investigators said.

Phillips said Schearer told police he and Speelhoffer had been hunting rabbits and were walking back to Schearer's vehicle at the Birdsboro Rustic Picnic Area when Schearer's .22 caliber rifle accidentally discharge, shooting Speelhoffer.

Speelhoffer had been carrying a shotgun.

Following a preliminary investigation, police believe the shooting to be accidental but the investigation is continuing, Phillips said.

Birdsboro police called for an ambulance when Schearer arrived with Speeelhoffer and told them what had happened.

Police have not been able to talk to Speelhoffer about the shooting.

Schearer was placed in the back of a police car in front of borough hall, and officers sealed off the building and half the parking lot with crime scene tape as they tried to determine what had happened.

Friends of the victim and onlookers gathered at the building to see what was going on.

Schearer was taken to the Robeson Township building for questioning and later released.

Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams joined Phillips at the township building and helped oversee the investigation.

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