Search for Bolivar man is similar to father’s time on the lam
This isn’t the first time police have searched for a David McGinnis in the Bolivar and Fairfield Township areas.
David Wayne McGinnis — accused of arson, insurance fraud and making terroristic threats — was on the lam from police for several months in 2010.
Nearly a decade later, his son David Lee McGinnis is on the run.
The younger McGinnis, of Bolivar, is wanted by Pennsylvania state police for firing a 9mm handgun inside an Indiana County hotel room. Troopers scanned the area around the Days Inn along Route 22 in Burrell Township via helicopter Monday searching for David L. McGinnis following the 9:30 a.m. incident.
Fairfield Township Supervisor Vaughn Tantlinger, who remembers the search for the elder McGinnis, said Wednesday he believes area residents are aware of the situation but don’t take much notice.
“I did see something that they were looking for him … and heard there were a couple comments on social media, but haven’t spoken to anyone firsthand,” Tantlinger said. “But most people around here are like me … we are too busy with our own work, and really don’t have time for that kind of stuff.”
Tantlinger recalled the widespread publicity when David W. McGinnis, then 44, was on the run in 2010. For 10 weeks, the elder McGinnis, who had an extensive criminal record that spanned 30 years, avoided capture despite some close calls between March 15 and May 28, 2010.
The search prompted some residents in town to make homemade T-shirts using duct tape that read “Run Dave Run” and “Free Dave.” State police warned that anyone assisting McGinnis also could be arrested.
The elder McGinnis’ flight as a fugitive ended in Columbia, S.C., where federal marshals arrested him. Four days after he was extradited back to the Westmoreland County Prison in June 2010, he died in his cell after slashing his throat with a disposable razor.
Less than two weeks before Monday’s alleged shooting incident, the younger McGinnis was in the same Westmoreland County jail on $100,000 bond for drug-possession charges. According to court documents, troopers searched McGinnis’ Washington Street home June 19 and discovered 65 grams of heroin, 30 grams of cocaine and 120 grams of marijuana.
Information that led to the search came from an informant, troopers reported in court documents.
Online court records state that McGinnis was released after a bondsman from Harrisburg posted bail.
“I have absolutely no comment to you,” the bondsman, Carter T. McCue, said Wednesday.
The recent events are not the younger McGinnis’ first run-in with police.
In 2013, McGinnis, then 20, pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court in Johnstown to possessing a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol as an unlawful user of heroin. Federal law prohibits possessing a firearm while unlawfully using a controlled substance, or when addicted to a controlled substance.
According to federal court documents, Pittsburgh defense attorney Chris Capozzi, in seeking a lenient sentence, noted the elder McGinnis’ extensive criminal history in a memorandum to the judge.
“His father, unfortunately, was absent for much of (David Lee’s) childhood as a result of various periods of incarceration and does not appear to have served as much of a role model when not incarcerated,” Capozzi wrote.
While David Lee McGinnis could have received a 10-year sentence, U.S. District Judge Kim R. Gibson on July 2, 2013, sentenced him to serve 27 months followed by three years of supervised release.
Trooper Clifford Greenfield said police are searching for him.
He is charged with one count of discharging a firearm into an occupied structure; one count of persons not to possess, control, sell or transfer firearms; and one count of recklessly endangering another person. A warrant has been issued for his arrest.
Anyone with information regarding his location can contact police at 724-357-1960, Greenfield said.
Paul Peirce is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Paul at 724-850-2860, [email protected] or via Twitter .