INDIANAPOLIS – As a 76-year-old scoutmaster led two young charges on a nature hike, they stopped to identify a tree — a pause authorities say put them in the path of a man who emerged from a nearby home with a 12-inch knife and stabbed the group's leader, leaving him to bleed to death on the trail.
The attack Sunday afternoon on the Nickel Plate Trail in Bunker Hill, 60 miles north of Indianapolis, killed Arthur Anderson, a scouting volunteer for 50 years who also mentored young computer whizzes at Kokomo High School and held a patent for an electrical device.
Authorities say that after approaching Anderson from behind and stabbing him without provocation, 22-year-old Shane Golitko returned to the home where he had earlier assaulted his mother, breaking her arm, and stabbed his two dogs, killing one of them. He fled in his mother's Jeep, leading police on an eight-mile chase before he was arrested.
Authorities said it wasn't clear what set Golitko off, and neither drugs nor alcohol were involved.
"It was a senseless act," said Indiana State Police Detective Tony Frawley, who had stated in a court affidavit that Golitko told him "that the reason he got the knife from his bedroom was to 'stab the guy with the gray hair.'"
Golitko, who is charged him with murder and two felony counts of battery, is being held without bond in the Miami County Jail in Peru pending a Thursday court appearance in Miami Circuit Court. The prosecutor's office did not yet know of an attorney representing Golitko, and no one responded to a call to his home.
His mother, Valerie Henson, 48, had called police Sunday afternoon to say she had fled to a neighbor's home after an argument between her and her son escalated and he "kicked and punched her multiple times," Frawley's affidavit said. She was treated for a broken arm.
Golitko went to his room for the knife, then walked outside 150 yards to the trail "to the area where he had previously seen a male subject with 'gray hair,'" Frawley said.
Anderson, assistant scoutmaster of a troop based at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Kokomo, was leading two scouts, ages 11 and 12, on a required 5-mile nature hike, accompanied by another man, authorities said. The group had stopped on the trail to discuss the tree. Anderson was attacked from behind, Indiana State Police Sgt. Tony Slocum said.
"He was doing probably the most innocent thing he could do, leading a group of Boy Scouts, and he was in the wrong place at the wrong time," Slocum said.
The other man in the group, Chee Lee, shielded the boys from the attack, then called police a minute after Henson's call, the affidavit said.
Another witness, a neighbor living near the trail, brought out a shirt and applied pressure to Anderson's neck wound, Slocum said, but the scoutmaster died at the scene.
Golitko, the affidavit said, returned home, "stabbed his two dogs with the same knife, wiped the knife clean, and returned the knife to his bedroom," the affidavit said. He began breaking windows and destroying things in the home, authorities said in the affidavit, then left in the Jeep. After his arrest, he spat on a jail officer, which led to the second battery charge.
Miami County Prosecutor Bruce Embrey said Golitko was arrested once before as an adult in Miami County, for possession of marijuana. He went through a diversion program in which the crime was reduced to a misdemeanor.
Golitko also was arrested for assault in Belmont County, Ohio, in July 2010 but the charge later was dismissed, court records show.
Paco Solis, who succeeded Anderson as scoutmaster of their troop, described his friend Monday as "a great man" who was a mentor in the community and volunteered with a robotics team at Kokomo High School in addition to his work with the scouts.
"His life revolved around youth and being a servant," Solis said, adding that Anderson worked closely with new scouts and with younger scouts in particular.
Nick Losekamp, a district executive for the Boy Scouts' Sagamore Council in Kokomo, described Anderson as a great leader, training the boys to lead by example and motivate others.
"He was a nice guy, he was. He had lots of stories to tell," Losekamp said.
AP researcher Julie Reed in New York contributed to this report.
Ken Kusmer can be reached at — http://twitter.com/kkusmer