BUNKER HILL, Ind. (AP) — A 76-year-old man was stabbed to death Sunday afternoon while leading Boy Scouts on a hiking trip in northern Indiana, and a suspect who battered his mother and killed a dog at their home nearby is under arrest, police said.
The assistant scout leader, Arthur L. Anderson, had stopped to identify a tree on the Nickel Plate Trail in Bunker Hill when an attacker approached him from behind and stabbed him in the neck, Indiana State Police said in a statement. Witnesses told police the attack was unprovoked.
Mr. Anderson, of Kokomo, Ind., "was doing probably the most innocent thing he could do, leading a group of Boy Scouts," Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said. "He was in the wrong place at the wrong time."
Officers later arrested Shane C. Golitko, 22, of Bunker Hill after he ignored a state trooper's attempted traffic stop and led police on an eight-mile chase, the state police said.
Police are holding Mr. Golitko without bond on a murder charge and two felony counts of battery at the Miami County Jail. He is due in Miami Circuit Court on Thursday morning.
Sgt. Slocum said another adult on the hike shielded the two boys, ages 11 and 12, from the horror of the attack, then called 911. Mr. Anderson died at the scene despite the efforts of a nearby resident who performed first aid and of emergency medical personnel who responded to the 911 call.
Police said Mr. Anderson had been involved in scouting for 50 years.
"It was a senseless act," state police Detective Tony Frawley said of the attack.
A minute before the 911 call alerting authorities that Mr. Anderson had been stabbed, Mr. Golitko's mother, Valerie Henson, called 911 to report that her son had assaulted her in a dispute at their home, about 150 yards south of the trail, state police said.
Ms. Henson told police that after she fled to a neighbor's house, her son walked to the trail where Mr. Anderson later was stabbed. She said her son later returned home, smashed up some of their belongings and stabbed the family's two dogs, a boxer and a pit bull. The boxer died.
Ms. Henson was treated for a broken arm. Sgt. Slocum did not say what sparked the attack or what prompted the altercation between Ms. Henson and Mr. Golitko.
Miami County Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said Mr. Golitko had been arrested once before for possession of marijuana and went through a diversion program in which the charge was reduced to a misdemeanor. Sgt. Slocum said there was no indication that drugs or alcohol were involved in Sunday's attack.
Nick Losekamp, a district executive for the Boy Scouts' Sagamore Council in Kokomo, said Mr. Anderson was the assistant scoutmaster for the troop at the Redeemer Lutheran Church. Mr. Losekamp said Mr. Anderson was a great leader, very much involved in mentoring the boys, training them to lead by example and motivate others.
"He was a nice guy," Mr. Losekamp said. "He was pretty much always there."