A former Windber officer has been indicted by a grand jury for obstructing two separate police investigations, authorities say.
According to an Investigating Gran Jury report, 36-year-old Jason Knipple is facing charges of obstructing administration of law or other government function, hindering apprehension or prosecution and making false reports to law enforcement authority.
One of the investigations that Knipple allegedly hindered stemmed from a shots fired incident in Central City, Somerset County in May of 2019.
State police said troopers where called to a home for a domestic disturbance when a man fired a gun at them from the woods which prompted an days-long manhunt.
As troopers searched for the man near Monument Road, they say they received a tip via phone from Knipple who claimed to know the wanted man’s exact location, according to the Grand Jury report.
Knipple, who was off duty at the time, told troopers he received the man’s exact location from a trustworthy confidential informant, the Grand Jury report says.
Trusting Knipple’s information, troopers say they abandoned their search at Monument Road and tried searching Bunker Hill Road, but were unsuccessful, according to the Grand Jury report.
The Grand Jury report says that Knipple convinced troopers to allow him to bring his so-called confidential informant to the scene to find the exact location, but she too was unsuccessful.
According to the Grand Jury report, the confidential informant told investigators that she was involved in a sexual relationship with Knipple and was not actually a confidential informant and she never told Knipple she knew where the man was located.
Troopers say they found the wanted man a few days later in the area they were first looking.
They say the man was taken into custody at night causing a trooper to smash his knee.
Troopers testified that it would have been easier to take the man in custody during the day had Knipple not provided them with the wrong location.
According to the investigating grand jury report, the other investigation that Knipple hindered was that of the Office of Attorney General Bureau of Narcotics Investigation and Drug Control that operated in Somerset County.
From May 2019 through July 2019, investigators say Knipple tried to mislead agents while they attempted to discover who leaked the identity of a confidential informant to a drug dealer.
According to the Grand Jury report, the confidential informant whose identity was leaked was a paramour of the same woman whom Knipple was having a sexual relationship with.
Investigators say they discovered messages that Knipple had known the woman was a drug user and had revealed the confidential informant’s identity to her.
They say Knipple jeopardized the investigation and he would not have been a part of the investigation had they known his relationship with the woman.
Knipple has a preliminary hearing scheduled for Oct. 7.
No bail info was listed.