Officer charged in deadly shooting; Family says victim is ‘vindicated’
For the first time in seven weeks, David Kassick’s family learned the circumstances of his death on Monday.
Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico met with them to tell them Officer Lisa Mearkle would face a charge of criminal homicide for shooting and killing their loved one.
“I really wasn’t expecting that but after that it was a relief, somewhat of a relief,” says Kassick’s sister, Diane Fetters. “It’s like living a nightmare, like it didn’t happen, it,s very hard to adjust to this. We’ll never see our brother again, and that’s hard.”
Kassick was 59. He lived with his sister and her family. He was killed outside their home on Grandview Drive in South Hanover Township, after he fled from a traffic stop. Mearkle followed him and Tasered him. He fell face down on the ground. She told him to show his hands, and Tasered him repeatedly when she couldn’t see both hands. Then she shot him twice in the back, fatally wounding him.
The District Attorney says Mearkle’s Taser has camera that recorded video of the shooting.
“He was laying on the ground and she shot him twice in the back,” says Fetters. “To me that’s cowardly. He never attacked her, he never even attempted to attack her, and she has taken down bigger guys than him. He was 59 years old and not a big guy, so we don’t understand why she felt she had to use that type of force.”
Kassick was a heroin addict, and he had a history of drug crimes. Police released that information immediately, but they would not say whether he had a weapon, until the District Attorney released details today.
Kassick’s family said all along he did not have a weapon, and they were right.
“He wanted a better life, he and I had a talk about a week before this happened, and he had a girlfriend and he really wanted to be with her and he wanted a different type of life,” says Fetters.
Mearkle’s attorney says she didn’t know whether he had a gun. The D.A. says she attempted to perform CPR and save his life, after shooting him.