Pennsylvania Hunter Charged After Accidentally Shooting, Killing Texas Bow Hunter in Colorado

by Matthew Memrick
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A Pennsylvania hunter who fatally shot a Texas bow hunter in Colorado Friday is facing homicide charges.

The incident occurred in San Juan National Forest near Rico, and Fox 31 reported that searchers took 10 hours to find the hunter. The area is about a seven-hour drive from Denver.

Initial reports of an accidental shooting came into the Dolores County Sheriff’s Office. Elizabeth, Pa.-resident Ronald Morosko allegedly shot 31-year-old Houston resident Gregory Gabrisch. Gabrisch was bow hunting while Morosko was using a black powder rifle for hunting.

Later, sheriff’s officials charged Morosko with criminally negligent homicide. The man was released from jail Saturday with a court date set for Tuesday.

“The incident is currently under investigation with our partners at Colorado Bureau of Investigation, Montezuma County Sheriff’s Office, and San Juan National Forest law enforcement,” Dolores County Sheriff Don Wilson said in a news release.

The Journal of Southwest Colorado reported that the men were not hunting together.

Confusion During Multiple Hunting Seasons

Sheriff’s deputies are investigating the death that occurred during several hunting seasons. One of the search party members, Seth O’Donovan, said the area had a lot of hunting traffic in September.

Colorado hunters must wear a certain amount of bright orange or pink material on their upper torsos. Bowhunters, however, are not required to do so. Bow and muzzle seasons overlap during September.

“We didn’t know what to expect. We were told there was someone who had a gunshot wound,” O’Donovan told Fox 31.

O’Donovan is a member of the West Fork Volunteer Fire Department in Dolores County. Jenn Vinson, another fire department volunteer, said hunters shooting hunters is not common in the area.

“Injuries and altitude issues are very common, but something like this is not,” Vinson said.

Another Hunting Accident

After killing a teenager at a Pennsylvania state park, a hunter learned that he must serve 7 to 20 years in prison in July. 

Kenneth Heller, 52, shot 18-year-old Jason Kutt at the edge of a lake at Nockamixon State Park in the back of the head. 

Kutt was waiting to watch a sunset with his girlfriend when a bullet hit him in the back of the head, McClatchy News previously reported. He died two days later. 

In the McClatchy report, the girlfriend told police that she saw a man in an orange vest and hunter clothing about 550 feet away after Kutt’s shooting.

Heller fled the scene. In one report, he told the judge that he thought he was aiming at a groundhog last October. 

The Bucks County Courier Times reported that the man didn’t intend to hit the victim but “took aim and shot what he believed to be an animal, and killed what he shot.”

In the sentencing, Heller must also pay a $10,000 fine to the victim’s family.

Outsider.com