DA: State Police justified in shooting death of man in York County

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YORK, Pa. — York County District Attorney Tom Kearney released a report today that State Troopers were justified in using deadly force against Joseph Penderghest last year in Springfield Township. Troopers were called to the 6600 block of Reynolds Mill Road, around 1am on August 9th, 2014, for a vehicle accident.

When troopers approached the vehicle they saw Penderghest, of Herndon, Virginia, was cutting himself with an 8-inch folding knife. The troopers tried to talk to him and make him stop. When that didn’t work,the troopers tried to subdue the him by using  pepper spray and tasers. Those measures didn’t work either, and Penderghest got out of his car. He began walking towards the troopers with the knife. Penderghest told the troopers to shoot him. The troopers, William Colvin and William Wright, continued to give Penderghest commands to stop. But Penderghest continued towards them with the knife. They fired and Penderghest hit the ground. The troopers called EMS. As they approached him, Penderghest lunged at them again, and the troopers fired several more rounds.

Toxicology test results revealed the presence of Amphetamines in Penderghest’s system.

The incident started earlier with a woman travelling with Penderghest from Hershey. she told police Penderghest was agitated and paranoid, believing the CIA and other agencies were spying on him. When they entered a work zone on I-83 South near exit 10, a state police cruiser was parked with lights on to warn drivers of the work zone. This triggered Penderghest’s paranoia and he began to accuse the woman riding with him of working with the agencies spying on him. He drove through barricades at Exit 10 and soon stopped. The woman said he pulled out a gun and was waving it around. A shot was fired as she pushed him. She managed to get her daughter out of the car and ran to the Rutter’s gas Station located at 362 N. Main St. York.

Penderghest traveled up exit 10 and drove in an unknown direction to Reynolds Mill RD. While driving north in the area of 6866 Reynolds Mill RD. He intentionally crossed the yellow line and exited the east edge of the roadway. He then struck a large evergreen shrub and a utility pole. The vehicle continued to travel through a grassy area before it entered a parking lot. The vehicle then struck one parked car in the rear end and continued traveling into another parked car. It struck the second parked car in the driver side and pushed it into a third parked vehicle. The struck vehicles were parked in front of an apartment complex. A resident of the apartment complex called police, and that is when Colvin and Wright became involved.