A Clearfield County man is charged as the gunman in a drive-by shooting that wounded one man at a Dysart bar.
Police say Russell Scott Shick, 56, of Beccaria Township, was kicked out of the bar, George’s Tavern, earlier that day for making vulgar comments to a bartender and threatened her husband on his way out the door.
“You want to bring a knife to a gunfight,” Shick allegedly told the man as he was being told to leave, a criminal complaint shows.
Shick now faces four felony counts of aggravated assault, including one for firing the round that traveled through a bar wall and struck Robert J. Edgar Jr., 30, of Coalport, in the hip.
Shick was released on $20,000 unsecured bond after arraignment Thursday.
He said he will fight the charges.
“Someone pulled a knife on me and it escalated from there,” Shick said during a telephone interview, adding he did not want to comment further.
Police said witnesses described Shick as “belligerent” when he entered George’s earlier Oct. 16 before the shooting.
One witness said Shick announced he was “in the mood to kick everybody’s ass,” police said.
Trooper Kenneth Durbin said a bartender apparently refused to serve Shick a drink after he tossed a pack of cigarettes on the bar floor and told her to “kiss my big fat belly.”
It started an exchange of words that led the bartender’s husband – who was using a folding knife to open packages of Halloween decorations – to point the knife toward Shick and tell him to show more respect, police said.
Shick allegedly made the “gunfight” threat as he passed the man, who had already put the knife away, police said.
Shick left the scene, but then apparently returned shortly before midnight, Durbin wrote in search warrant application documents filed Oct. 18.
Witnesses heard a vehicle slowing down on Route 53, Durbin said.
Then they heard several loud “pops,” he added.
“They all dove to the floor,” Durbin wrote.
One man saw muzzle flashes, just moments before the vehicle sped off heading south on Route 53, Durbin wrote.
State police said a gunman fired at least three 9 mm shots from the roadway into the tavern’s interior.
Two ended up in the pool table room, one striking a folding table, police said.
The one that struck Edgar passed through a booth in the bar, Durbin said.
Police said Shick brought a 9 mm rifle to the bar a day before the Oct. 16 shooting that matches the style and caliber that was used in the crime.
State police, after executing a search warrant, recovered a 9 mm rifle from Shick’s Beccaria home, Assistant District Attorney Gary Jubas said.
The weapon, statements made at the bar and interviews at the scene led police to file the aggravated assault charges and other felonies in the case, which originally was being investigated as an attempted homicide, he said.
Edgar, initially taken to UPMC Altoona, was recovering from the gunshot wound as of earlier this week, investigators said.
Shick, who also faces terroristic threats and counts of discharging a weapon into an occupied structure, said he has secured Pittsburgh attorney Leonard Berger to represent him.
A preliminary hearing before District Judge Charity Nileski is set for Oct. 31, but Shick said that is likely to be rescheduled.
David Hurst is a reporter for The Tribune-Democrat. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/tddavidhurst.