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Homicide Charges Filed in Deadly Shooting

Friday, May 22, 2020 @ 04:05 PM

Posted by Aly Delp

police-sceneJENKS TWP., Pa. (EYT) – Criminal homicide charges have been filed against a man accused of a fatal shooting that occurred in Marienville early Friday morning.

According to court documents, Marienville-based State Police filed the following charge against 36-year-old Richard Michael Gardner Jr., of Greensburg, in Magisterial District Judge Daniel L. Miller’s office on Friday, May 22:

– Criminal Homicide, Felony 1

The charge stems from a shooting incident that occurred in Marienville just after 12:00 a.m. on Friday.

According to a criminal complaint filed by Trooper Thorpe, around 12:10 a.m. on Friday, May 22, Marienville-based State Police were contacted by a witness who reported he heard a gunshot, looked out his window, and saw someone lying in the street at the Kelly Hotel in Marienville with another man standing nearby.

Police were dispatched to the scene, and as they were en route, they received a call through Warren County 9-1-1 with a caller stating he had been in an argument and altercation with another man and had shot the man with a 9mm “in self-defense.” The caller identified himself as Richard Gardner and identified the victim as Brian Schill.

When police arrived at the scene, they found Schill lying in the parking lot, deceased from apparent gunshot wounds. Gardner was sitting on the steps of the Kelly Hotel, and a black Taurus 9mm pistol was located on the ground in close proximity to Gardner. Two spent shell casings were also located at the scene, in close proximity to the victim’s body, according to the complaint.

Around 12:43 a.m., Marienville-based State Police contacted Forest County Coroner Norman J. Wimer to respond to the Kelly Hotel.

Both Coroner Wimer and his Chief Deputy Coroner Cody Magill responded to the scene.

The coroner also requested the presence of Forest County District Attorney Alyce Busch.

Schill was then pronounced dead at the scene.

According to the complaint, a known man was interviewed at the scene around 1:25 a.m. The man related he was at his nearby residence on Chestnut Street, which is visible from the Kelly Hotel.

The man reported he was outside in his carport/gazebo area looking for his cell phone around 11:45 p.m. and heard one or two gunshots, close together, and then screaming and yelling. He then walked over to the parking lot across from the Kelly Hotel and saw and man and a woman in the parking lot close to the hotel. He told police the woman was kneeling over a body on the ground, and the man was on the porch and appeared to be talking on his cell phone, according to the complaint.

The first witness, who initially called police, was also interviewed at the scene.

He told police he had seen Gardner walking across the parking lot toward a known woman’s apartment around 7:30 p.m. He said Gardner went to the front door and tried to open it, then went around to the back door. He reported Gardner then walked back past the tree line to his vehicle and drove around the block into the parking area across from the hotel and parked in the far rear of the lot, which the witness noted was out of character for Gardner, who usually parks in a lot in front of the apartments. He stated later that night, about five or ten minutes before midnight, he heard a gunshot, looked outside, and saw a body lying in the parking lot. He reported he then heard the known woman yelling at Gardner.

The known woman was interviewed and told police she had been dating Gardner since around February 2020 and had previously been in a relationship with Schill for approximately four years.

According to the complaint, she reported she was going to end her relationship with Gardner and had been communicating less with him over the past week. She noted she had been out with Schill for several hours prior to returning to her apartment at the Kelly Hotel. When they returned, they were confronted by Gardner on the porch of the hotel. Schill and Gardner then became involved in a physical altercation, which moved from the porch to the parking area. The woman reported that she then heard shots, looked over, and saw Schill lying on his back in the parking area, with Gardner in the process of standing up and backing away from him holding a gun.

The woman also stated she was surprised that Gardner had driven up to see her because she was always aware of when he was making plans to visit her. She explained that he always parks in the front parking area, near the entrance doors, and it was strange for him to park in the back. She also said that it was common for Gardner to carry a handgun with him, the complaint states.

Police also interviewed Gardner.

He reportedly told police that he usually travels to see the known woman on Fridays or Saturdays, and she always knows he is coming to visit. He then related that when he came up this time, the woman did not know he was coming. When questioned about why she didn’t know this time, Gardner said he “wanted to confront her in person.” He also stated he tried to call, but she did not answer. When he arrived, he found the apartment locked, and he tried to call again, with the same result. He told police he thought the known woman was possibly sleeping or in the shower, so he waited in his truck, according to the complaint.

Gardner was questioned about his knowledge of the victim, and he reportedly told police he heard Schill “could be violent.” When asked whether he has ever had any issues with Schill, he said he had not but also stated Schill had been trying to “get back with” the known woman since they had broken up. When asked about why he parked where he did, he told police it was so he could walk his dog, which he said he brought with him – even knowing the dog was not permitted in the woman’s apartment – because the dog enjoys riding in the truck. Gardner admitted that he did not usually bring the dog with him, the complaint indicates.

When asked about his encounter with Schill, Gardner said he saw a truck pull in, and he got out of his truck and walked to the front porch to wait for the known woman. He stated that when the truck passed him, he saw a man inside with the known woman, and he admitted he felt betrayed and hurt, according to the complaint.

Gardner told police when the woman came around the corner, he stood up and then saw Schill come around the corner of the building. He then asked the woman what was going on and said that Schill then pushed him, and he fell backward, hitting his head on the concrete. Schill then got on top of him and started striking him in the face, so he pulled his gun from the holster in his pants, held it in front of him, and pulled the trigger. Gardner said the gun didn’t go off immediately, and he then realized he didn’t pull the hammer back, so he proceeded to cock the pistol and fired two quick shots into Schill, the complaint states.

During the interview with Gardner, police noted a significant amount of blood on Gardner. He was examined for injuries related to his statement regarding falling and hitting his head on the concrete. Police observed no injury to the back of Gardner’s head, where he indicated the injury occurred, according to the complaint.

Gardner was arraigned in front of Judge Miller at 9:30 a.m. on Friday, May 22.

He was lodged in the Warren County Jail with bail denied.

A preliminary hearing is scheduled for 9:00 a.m. on Tuesday, June 2, with Judge Miller presiding.

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