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Hempfield shooting suspect now facing attempted murder charges

| Saturday, Oct. 20, 2012, 11:16 a.m.
Daniel Lee Ryan of 122 Antler Lane, Hempfield Twp., is accused of firing 17 shot at state troopers during a stand-off on Oct. 12, 2012.

Investigators filed new charges Friday against a Hempfield man accused of firing 17 shots at state troopers last week during a standoff.

Daniel Lee Ryan, 44, of 122 Antler Lane was arraigned Friday morning and now faces six counts of attempted murder of a law enforcement officer in addition to 17 counts each of aggravated assault and reckless endangerment and a single count of terroristic threats.

Assistant District Attorney James Lazar said the attempted homicide charges are a result of the continued investigation.

“Once they did further investigating they felt this was appropriate,” Lazar said. “They didn't want to overcharge” in Ryan's original arrest on Oct. 12.

State police said Ryan allegedly fired 17 shots through the walls, windows and doors of his home at a dozen troopers outside between 10:30 p.m. Oct. 11 and 1:06 a.m. Oct. 12.

A new criminal complaint filed Friday by Trooper John Zalich said six of the troopers “felt they were being targeted by the defendant while he was shooting.”

On Oct. 16, troopers investigating inside the home determined Ryan was firing while sitting on the floor in his bedroom doorway.

Six shots through the front door appeared to be at chest- and head-height, police said. Additional shots were determined to be directed at troopers who were attempting to illuminate the house with lights from their patrol vehicles, the affidavit states.

No one was injured during the standoff.

Trooper Steve Limani said investigators had enough evidence to hold Ryan in jail until consulting with the district attorney's office about the attempted homicide charges.

“You don't just charge something like that without sitting down with a district attorney,” Limani said.

At his first arraignment, Ryan told reporters the incident was “a misunderstanding” and that he was depressed. His attorney, Brian Aston, could not be reached for comment Friday.

Police responded to a call from a neighbor's home on Antler Lane at about 10:30 p.m. Oct. 11. Dawn Ryan had fled there after her intoxicated husband allegedly threatened to kill her, according to the affidavit.

Troopers made phone contact with Daniel Ryan and asked him to come outside. Instead, he allegedly started shooting from inside his home with two .9 mm handguns.

When Ryan didn't respond to a negotiations team, troopers lobbed tear gas into the house. Ryan eventually surrendered unarmed and was treated for tear gas exposure, police said.

Nearby roads, including Toll Route 66 between the Harrison City and Jeannette exits, were closed during the incident and homes were evacuated.

Ryan's bond was set at $500,000 Friday by District Judge Joseph DeMarchis. Ryan told DeMarchis during his Oct. 12 arraignment that he has been a caseworker with the state Department of Public Welfare for six years and that he and his wife had lived at the home for five years.

The charges filed Oct. 12 have been withdrawn and are replaced by Friday's filing. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for Nov. 29.

Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-837-5374 or rsignorini@tribweb.com.

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