The Franklin County District Attorney says the fatal shooting by police of an armed man in St. Thomas Township last Monday was justified. The incident began on September 2, 2013, when Pennsylvania State Police attempted to serve an arrest warrant on 47 year old Philip Rank at his home on St. Thomas Williamson Road.
District Attorney Matthew Fogal said Rank was involved in an altercation with a woman on Friday, August 30 and Saturday 31 that was bloody and violent. He said that State Police had responded to calls to the woman’s home about Rank before. State Police obtained the arrest warrant after talking to the victim at Chambersburg Hospital. When troopers arrived at his home Rank refused to surrender. He barricaded himself inside the house. Police communicated with him for several hours with no results. A PSP Special Emergency Response Team eventually arrived on the scene.
Rank repeatedly threaten the troopers. He said that he was armed with an SKS rife, an AR-15, a .308 handgun and had 75 rounds of ammunition. He talked about dying and said if he left his residence he would be shooting.
According to the district attorney Rank ran outside from the back of the residence armed with a holstered .40 Beretta and carrying the loaded SKS rifle in his hands (both weapons pictured above). He encountered troopers within roughly 100 feet from the back of the residence, to the rear of an adjacent barn, with his rifle at the low ready position, and then raised his rifle to one of the troopers. Given the shouts and verbal commands coming from that location behind the barn, a SERT member immediately approached from his perimeter position to the front of the barn, and as he did so, Rank quickly moved back towards him with the SKS in hand and swung it towards the SERT trooper. The SERT trooper appropriately employed deadly force at that time, firing several shots into the body of Rank. Rank subsequently dropped his weapon and immediately made an effort to reach it and regain possession, and was fatally shot again.
“I have determined that the response and actions taken by all Troopers involved were absolutely and unequivocally justified under the circumstances. As such, no further criminal investigation is requested or warranted in this matter.” said Fogal