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DA: Shooting of suspect in Lancaster in May deemed justified

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LANCASTER, Pa. — Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman says a Lancaster City police officer was “entirely justified” in shooting and killing a man on May 19.

Stedman made the announcement Friday.

ORIGINAL STORY FROM MAY 19:

LANCASTER, Pa. — A Lancaster City police officer is recovering in the hospital after suffering two gunshot wounds while serving an arrest warrant earlier today. Police say a group of officers were attempting to arrest a man on assault and terroristic threat charges in the city when he opened fire. That man is now dead after an officer shot him in self defense.

Lancaster Mayor Rick Gray says during his 10-year tenure the city has never had a case where an officer was shot, until today. Gray as well as the Lancaster County District Attorney and the Lancaster City Police Chief are commending the officers who served that arrest warrant as well as all officers who put their lives on the line everyday.

Officers were serving a warrant for a man who allegedly beat and threatened to kill a woman and her two children Monday night.

“They never know how things are going to turn out,” said District Attorney Craig Stedman.

Stedman says the officers put on their bulletproof vests and knocked on the door on East Chestnut Street. They were let inside. But, when one officer gave the wanted man commands, he didn’t respond. The officer then tazed him and that’s when the man fired at the officer who tazed him striking him in the hand and shoulder – just above his bulletproof vest. Another officer fired his weapon in self defense, ultimately killing the suspect.

Later in the afternoon Police Chief Keith Sadler spoke about the officer who had been shot.

“Hard to stand up here after being in the hospital and coming in the emergency room and following the trail that he was carried into and seeing his blood all over the floor and watching a team of doctors working on him and just to know what he was there for in the first place and that he actually gave this individual the benefit of the doubt,” said Sadler.

Sadler says the officer was shot just a few inches away from his throat. His injuries could have been deadly. He has a message for the people who criticize the way his police department operates.

“This should bring home that the individuals that we go after for things like assaulting a woman and threatening children – these are people that have absolutely no regard for the safety of others,” said Sadler.

Stedman is not releasing the names of any of the individuals involved in Tuesday’s incident. Stedman says he’s investigating the case and also says the officer who fired the shots in self defense is off duty until his investigation is completed. Chief Sadler says the officers involved are veterans with the police department and he has no doubts they went above and beyond their call of duty.