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Family, friends demand answers after police-involved shooting

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Anger and sadness among family and friends as they mourn the loss of David Kassick.

On February 2, he was shot and killed by an officer during a routine traffic stop in South Hanover Township.

"I realize that there's a certain duty that the police have to do but I think this was just a little bit of an overstep on their behalf," said one family supporter, Ronald Painter.

Kassick was driving with an expired inspection sticker but when he failed to pull over, a chase ensued. Kassick ran out of the car and across a yard on Grandview Road. An "altercation" occurred between Kassick and the officer. Kassick was shot more than once. It's unclear whether he had a weapon or what prompted the officer to shoot him.

But family and friends say the shooting was unjustified.

"At the end of the day, a man lost his life and that's tragic. There's been too many lives lost in the last year at the hands of overzealous police officers," added Painter.

Family and friends believe Kassick was targeted because of his criminal past. According to State Police documents, the family admitted that Kassick had a heroin addiction and relapsed two weeks ago.

"The family has asked me to respectfully remind everyone that whatever else he may have been. David was a human being. He had a family that loved him and he had a life to live. That was taken from him. Family and the public have a right to know why," said Kassick family attorney, John Solt.

They want those answers addressed by officials and civil leaders. The shooting is being investigated by Pennsylvania State Police and the Dauphin County District Attorney's office.

Officer Lisa Mearkle, a 14-year veteran with the Hummelstown Police Department has been placed on administrative leave, pending the outcome of that investigation.

Family members and friends say they just want to be heard -- and they plan on attending a borough council meeting this Thursday to address their concerns.

30 comments

  • JW

    Sad he lost his life, however, he ran from the police and had an altercation with Law Enforcement. Hopefully some answers will be addressed. I bet she will be fired! If she is, that will cause more racial tension: White man shot by the police and fired. Black man shot by the police and cleared.

  • petter

    She should have took control and returned to her car and called for police back up.Instead she took a life without a reason (an expired inspection sticker?) No weapon was found. This act can not be justified for any reason at all.

    • xds45

      Maybe you need to look at some of the other question listed here:
      1 why didn’t he pull over?
      2. when he stop why did he run?
      3. why did he fight with the officer?
      All the facts are not out yet, but one fact is true the action David took let to this result all he had to do was pull over it’s that’s simple.

      • petter

        So if you don’t pull over, you should be shot to death? She should have called for back up plane and simple._Some_ of the things you say I agree with

        • petter

          I didn’t hear or see anything about him fighting with her.
          The guy next door saw him hiding in the bushes and calling out ” i give up” , but she shot him anyway.

        • peter

          Police back was on the way, but she wasn’t waiting for it? She should have the man might be alive today, da

          • xds45

            Just remember that when you or someone in you family is being assaulted, or you house is being broken into that the officer waits in there cruiser for backup to arrive.. Also don’t say you would shot them because we could say you should have waited of the cops to arrive if you would have waited the perp might still be alive.

    • Elmer Criswell

      Clearly, you know nothing about police work. You have been watching too much TV. Police officers don’t return (or “retreat”) to their patrol cars for “back-up” on what is a routine traffic stop – otherwise nothing would ever get accomplished. Why not wait and see what the official investigation reveals before expressing your views on what proper police procedure she should have followed. You weren’t there – she was. You and all the rest of the detractors of what happened (even though none of you know what happened) should withhold your speculation and uninformed opinions until you find out what happened, officially, in the brief period of time (a matter of seconds) she had to make a decision to shoot or not, and all of the rest of you self-appointed “experts” take hours and days to second-guess what she did without you even knowing yet what it was she actually did. Your opinion and that of all of the rest of those expressing their “expertise” on police procedure is worthless.

  • tiredofthebs

    ….another drain on society who decided to run from and then fight the police. He chose his fate and he received the consequences. If he would have taken responsibility for his self he would have just received his traffic ticket and would have lived to blast away another heroin gelcap . Thank you officer for taking away another drain on the tax payers.

  • areuhigh!

    I am sick of the notion that anytime someone is shot by police that it is they who are at fault! The family wants answers?? Here is one….he got out of his car and ran from the police. Want another? he ran out of sight, to a position of advantage from the same officer that tried to stop him in the first place! “He was a human being and had a family that loved him and he had a life to live.” The officer doesn’t???? This man was not shot because of an inspection sticker! He was shot because he chose, of his own free will, to run from a police officer, both in his vehicle and on foot, while putting himself, the public and the police officer at risk. “…too many people that died at the hands of overzealous police officers.”??? Thry this instead, there are too many overzealous criminals that feel running from the police justifies their crimes and negates them from any responsibility of their actions!

    • peter

      Still doesn’t running from police shouldn’t is not a reason to be shot to death. I’m sticking to my guns on this one.

  • OneMan'sOpinion

    Does anyone here think Osama bin Laden was unjustifiably shot? How about if this dude, Kassick, was being pursued in your child’s elementary school on a Tuesday morning?
    He was not being pursed because of an inspection sticker. He was being pursued because he was hiding something bigger and ran. At the point he started to run, without a positive id by the officer, he could have been an ISIS operative.
    The officer was brave to follow Kassick because the pursuit may turn around and her life may have been in danger.

      • peter

        Sorry, Osama, He was hiding something bigger? He’s weener? Who said he was hiding something bigger? Where do get these rumors from?

        • areuhigh!

          It doesn’t take an advanced degree in philosophy to figure out he wasn’t running from the police because of an inspection sticker. Does it? Something bigger…for example, drug possession, intoxication, maybe a suspended OLN, maybe he violoated a parol with his his recent drug use, all these things are possible. Same said individual would not run to elude arrest only to magically give himself up without a struggle once he ran behind someone elses house (trespassing). Using your thought process, once he ran there is no justifiable reason for him to end up shot?? Not being a wise guy here but if cops just shot people who ran from them just because they ran, there would be a 10,000 acre cemetery outside of Harrisburg with a “no vacantcy” sign flashing.

    • xds45

      If he would have ran into Peter’s house and threated his family I sure his out look on returning to the cruiser and waiting for backup would be different and he would be wandering why the officer stop chasing the perp and didn’t protect his family.

        • xds45

          WHY, you should have waited for the cops to show up. Oh wait you feared for you and your family safety that’s why, but the police, in your eyes, don’t have that opinion the cops are to wait for backup.
          You just showed that you have a double standard you can shoot when you fear but cops can’t

          • peter

            Let me repeat that “Braking and Entering is not the same thing as running from police and getting shot to death”

    • OneMan'sOpinion

      Well, Mr. or Ms. Ass, it sounds as if you’re not saying that tongue in cheek(s). It sounds like you might have a chip on your shoulder about all police but I’m not sure. Race has not been mentioned of this officer. This suspect was white. Your declaration that this commenting group is racist is without basis. By the way, Treyvon was not killed by an officer.

  • babsybunnym

    Wow. It is really nice for a family member to see what nasty things ppl have said. Ty you so much for assuming and not knowing any facts! Maybe if u can find it in ur heart pls just let his family grieve and keep ur hateful opinions to urself. Ty

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