State police: 2 York County men attacked game warden, stole his gun

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

Two York County men are charged with felony assault and related offenses for allegedly attacking a Pennsylvania game warden in the woods of Schuylkill County and stealing his handgun.

Wade Michael Winemiller, 57, of the 400 block of Pleasant Hill Road in Lower Windsor Township, and Thomas Earl Kelly Jr., 57, of the 18000 block of Rosewood Drive in Hopewell Township, were arraigned Monday, Dec. 3, according to online court records.

They are charged with aggravated assault, conspiracy to commit that offense, disarming a law-enforcement officer, robbery, simple assault, resisting arrest, harassment and disorderly conduct.

Wade Winemiller is accused, along with fellow ATV rider Thomas Kelly Jr., of attacking a PA Game Commission game warden and stealing his gun, according to state police.

Winemiller and Kelly allegedly punched, beat and boot-stomped state Game Commission Deputy Warden David Fidler and stole his firearm, according to charging documents filed against the men by state police.

According to those documents, Fidler was dispatched to a wooded area off Peach Mountain Road in Norwegian Township about 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 1, for a deer that was shot, possibly by someone on an ATV.

While walking the trail in the woods, he heard ATVs approaching and stepped off the trail until Winemiller and Kelly drove up, then stepped back onto the trail and stopped them, state police said.

Instead of stopping, the men took off on the orange and black ATVs, leaving the trail, troopers said. But one rolled his ATV going up a mountain and the other stalled his out, police said.

Fidler tried to detain Winemiller and Kelly, but the men would not cooperate, charging documents state.

The allegations: The game warden initially pulled out his duty handgun after Kelly made a fist and cocked back his arm, but Fidler then put away his gun and started examining one of the ATVs, according to police.

That's when Kelly started swinging his fist several times and succeeded in punching Fidler in the face, documents state.

Fidler sprayed Kelly in the face with pepper spray, but it didn't stop him, according to state police.

Winemiller and Kelly then started chasing Fidler, who again unholstered his gun, documents state.

Kelly grabbed the game warden's arm and pushed it downward, at which point he and the game warden began struggling as the warden fell to his knees, according to charging documents.

Both Kelly and Winemiller grabbed Fidler's service weapon as Fidler was on the ground, hunched over in an attempt to keep the firearm near his body, police said.

"Fidler then turned his firearm's muzzle to his left side, where (Kelly) was ... and discharged one round," but it went into the ground, charging documents state.

Punched in head: By that time, Kelly and Winemiller were punching Fidler in the head, and Kelly then started kicking Fidler in the head numerous times while wearing boots — which were possibly motorcycle-style boots, police allege.

Winemiller then grabbed Fidler's gun out of the game warden's hands and started to back up, charging documents state.

"It's over, throw the gun in the woods," Fidler told him, according to police, and Winemiller told the game warden he could "pick up the gun at the next intersection by the creek," documents state.

Kelly was yelling for his ATV key, which Fidler had, police said. Fidler pulled the key out of his pocket and gave it to Kelly, after which both Winemiller and Kelly fled the area, documents state.

Fidler was taken by ambulance to a local hospital and treated for injuries he suffered during the attack, police said.

Confrontational? "Multiple investigatory leads" led state troopers to Winemiller and Kelly, according to charging documents, which state the men were known to operate orange and black ATVs and were known "to be confrontational with other ATV riders," documents state.

State police went to Winemiller's home, prompting him to say, "I knew you guys were coming," documents allege.

Police also found the ATVs Winemiller and Kelly allegedly used that day in Winemiller's garage, and they found one had a broken hand guard, which was left at the scene of the attack on Fidler, documents state. The ATVs were seized as evidence, police said.

Winemiller told troopers, "I should have changed out that hand guard," documents state.

Kelly remains free on $100,000 bail. Reached Tuesday, Dec. 4, he declined comment.

Winemiller remains in Schuylkill County Prison in lieu of $150,000 bail, according to court records. It is unclear if he has retained an attorney; he could not be reached for comment.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.