Wildlife Conservation Officer David Lynn Grove

Wildlife Conservation Officer David Lynn Grove

Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania

End of Watch Thursday, November 11, 2010

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David Lynn Grove

Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove was shot and killed on Schriver Road, near Red Rock Road, in Freedom Township, Adams County, at approximately 10:45 pm.

Officer Grove was in the area to investigate reports of ongoing night-time shooting and poaching. He had stopped a suspected poacher just south of Gettysburg National Military Park. As he handcuffed the man a struggle ensued and the subject opened fire on Officer Grove with a .45 caliber handgun, striking him four times. Although mortally wounded, Officer Grove was able to return fire, wounding the suspect in the hip. The suspect fled the scene with the handcuffs still on his left wrist.

The suspect, who was a convicted felon, was captured the following morning at a nearby hunting camp and charged with Officer Grove's murder. He stated that he shot Officer Grove because he didn't want to return to prison.

On October 2, 2012, the subject was convicted of first degree murder in connection. He was subsequently sentenced to death.

The officer had served as a full time wildlife conservation officer with the Pennsylvania Game Commission for three years and had previously served as a part-time officer with the agency for six years.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 9 years
  • Badge J2038

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Handgun; .45 caliber
  • Offender Sentenced to death


Most Recent Reflection

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Lessons in loss of a wildlife officer

Posted on Nov. 6, 2020 Gettysburg Times

Wednesday, Nov. 11, marks the 10th anniversary of Adams County Wildlife Conservation Officer David Grove’s death in the line of duty.

I wrote this editorial for the Times one week later, on Nov. 18, reflecting on “Lessons in loss of a wildlife officer.”

Adams County Wildlife Conservation Officer Darren David took a shift of sentry duty at the home of Dana and Lucy Grove in Waynesboro earlier this week.

Other Game Commission officers have been part of the round-the clock guard, as well.

Providing protection, realistic or symbolic, to immediate surviving family, is a law officer tradition when one of their own dies in the line of duty.

David’s partner in enforcing the Pa. Game Law, WCO David L. Grove, was slain on Schriver Road late last Thursday night after making a stop for suspected poaching.

Game and Fish & Boat commission officers have stood watch over WCO Grove’s remains since.

As the case progresses we will hopefully learn more about what happened when WCO Grove encountered Christopher Johnson and Ryan Laumann that night. Johnson has all but admitted to doing the shooting and we respect the presumption of innocence until proven guilty.

In the early days since WCO Grove’s death we learned or have been reminded that:

• With the exception of those who actually wear a badge and those who love them, most of the rest of us take for granted the delicate balance of training, circumstance, luck and fate that can turn what seems routine, into horrible. Those charged with protecting and serving as police or other law enforcement, walk the same fine line as WCO Grove did. Some would elevate the threat to wildlife officers because most of those they encounter are armed, perhaps at night, perhaps have been drinking. The danger to them all is real and cannot be under-appreciated.

• That officers of the law will band together instantly to protect and honor those of their profession and fraternity. Officers responding as backup to WCO Grove got to him in a remarkable two minutes, although too late. Officers of all departments and jurisdictions then worked shoulder to shoulder from the moment the “officer down” call was made — toward one mission — finding the shooter to get him to justice and protect the public.

• That officers are efficient, prepared, patient, and genuinely care about the people and resources they are to protect. We know that through getting to know more about WCO Grove. He loved his job and, at 31, had every enthusiasm for a long career. The professionalism and dedication of those caring for WCO Grove and working the case, was made clear in the hours after he was killed. In his death, WCO Grove was able to restore and re-install our faith in the law enforcement brethren he leaves behind.

• We learned that faith allows those who face danger and perhaps their final moments in the next traffic stop, to do their jobs and do it well. Not only faith in their Maker, but faith that evil intention is not at the core of every fellow man.

Gary Becker, a wildlife conservation officer in Adams County from 1973-1986, survived being shot by a poacher in 1973. “It was close,” Becker says. “All but an inch and the grace of God.”

In the dark hours since last Thursday, WCO Dave Grove and his law enforcement comrades have shined brightly.

Retired Police Officer

November 6, 2020

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