Police seeking Columbus man for alleged firearms, meth lab offenses
A man initially listed as the victim in a reported attempted homicide in Columbus Township fled from police in a multi-state chase on Tuesday.
Police in Pennsylvania and New York are looking for Daniel W. Heidler, 35, of Columbus.
Charges filed against Heidler on Tuesday included a first-degree felony firearms charge and a misdemeanor charge of false report — falsely incriminate another.
According to police, Heidler was convicted in 2017 of operating a methamphetamine lab and, as a result, may not own or possess firearms.
During the investigation of the alleged June 27 attempted homicide incident, police were initially told that Heidler kicked Tab Hunter — who was choking a female victim. According to the affidavit of probable cause, Hunter pulled a gun on Heidler and shot at him while Heidler ran into the woods, then shot a vehicle at the residence numerous times.
Hunter was charged with criminal attempt — criminal homicide, aggravated assault, strangulation, simple assault, and recklessly endangering another person.
According to the affidavit related to Heidler’s charges, witnesses including Heidler initially told police he did not have a weapon when Hunter was allegedly shooting at him.
After further interviews, police determined that Heidler did have a .22 caliber rifle on him during the incident.
Police said Heidler conspired with the woman who reported being choked by Hunter “to make false reports regarding him being in possession of a firearm and to hide the guy he had in his possession during the incident.”
Police attempted to serve a warrant for Heidler’s arrest at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in Freehold Township.
“Troopers spotted the suspect’s vehicle being driven by Heidler and a pursuit ensued,” according to a release. “Heidler drove into New York State and subsequently crashed and fled on foot in an unknown direction.” Agencies from Warren County and New York “attempted to locate Heidler with negative results.”
According to a release from the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, the pursuit ended “with the vehicle going into a ditch at the corner of Kortwright Road and Niobe Road in the Town of Harmony (N.Y.).”
“The subject fled into a wooded area on foot,” according to that release. “The area was searched by multiple law enforcement agencies and K9 units. The subject was not immediately located and the search ended at about 9:30 p.m.”
State police returned to the residence in Freehold Township.
“A search warrant was prepared and executed on a residence/camper in Freehold Township, where it was believed that the gun is being stored,” police said in the release. “During the search, the firearm Heidler possessed during the initial attempted homicide investigation was located.”
They found more.
“During the execution of the search warrant, troopers found items in the residence/camper on the property which are associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine,” police said. “A separate search warrant was prepared and executed for the residence/camper.”
The Clandestine Laboratory Response Team (CLRT) was called.
“CLRT West responded to the property and seized… (various) paraphernalia associated with the manufacture of methamphetamine,” police said. “Additional charges are being sought as the investigation is ongoing.”
Anyone with information regarding Heidler’s whereabouts is asked to contact Warren-based State Police investigating officer Trooper Jeffrey Osborne at 814-728-3600.
“There is no indication the suspect remained in New York State,” according to the Chautauqua County release. “However, if anyone suspicious is seen in the area, please do not hesitate to call the Sheriff’s Office” at (716) 753-4232.