Officers justified in shooting of 53-year-old Lewistown man
MIFFLIN COUNTY, Pa. — Two Lewistown Borough Police Department officers who shot and killed an armed man in April will not be criminally charged.
Mifflin County District Attorney Christopher Torquato announced Thursday that a Pennsylvania State Police investigation found that the officers feared for their lives and were justified in shooting 53-year-old Charles Bossinger.
The incident occurred on April 26 in Lewistown.
Police received a report that a man, in possession of a rifle, on Oakland Avenue was making threats to kill himself. It was also reported, during the call, that Bossinger fired shots within the residence. Officers arrived to the scene and noted that gunshots were in fact coming from the dwelling.
According to the Mifflin County District Attorney’s Office release, Bossinger exited the residence with a rifle and struck a police car with the firearm before turning back around toward the home. The man — ignoring multiple commands from law enforcement — then encountered the two Lewistown officers positioned on the side of his house.
Bossinger then approached to within 20 feet of the officers with his rifle pointing directly at one of them, the state police investigation reveals. As one officer tried to retreat, he fell to the ground. At that point, the officers yelled toward Bossinger to drop his weapon — he failed to comply. Bossinger was then shot by as his rifle was still pointed toward the downed officer.
The state police investigation adds that the two officers saw Bossinger’s left hand on the fore-stock of the rifle and his right hand near the trigger and reported that he made a statement to the effect that he has a round in the chamber.
A physical examination of the scene was conducted by the State Police Bureau of Forensic Services. The release states that physical findings at the scene confirmed that multiple rounds were fired inside the residence. The forensic services observed bullet holes in the house and a broken out front window. Bossinger’s loaded lever action Marlin .35 Remington rifle was also recovered.
Adhering to policies adopted by the Pennsylvania District Attorneys Association in officer involved shootings and practice in general where an individual is not going to be charged with a crime, the two officers will not be named publicly.