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Clairton man shot as he flees from police

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Friday, June 14, 2013, 4:51 a.m.
 

A Clairton man sustained non-life-threatening injuries when he was shot by a city officer during a brief chase on Thursday afternoon.

Anthony Jefferson, 28, was struck twice in the arm while fleeing with a handgun near the intersection of Eighth Street and Jefferson Drive.

Jefferson is charged with weapons violations, fleeing from police and traffic violations.

Two officers observed Jefferson, whom they said they knew was wanted by police, driving a car with an expired registration and inspection on Thursday around 4:20 p.m.

They stopped the vehicle in the area of Desiderio Boulevard and the Dollar General store.

Allegheny County Homicide Lt. Andrew Schurman said Jefferson pulled into the store's parking lot, then led police on a chase of less than a half mile before losing control of his vehicle and sliding to a stop in a driveway.

Officers approached in their vehicles as Jefferson got out of his car and fled.

Schurman said police could see Jefferson was armed with a pistol, he turned and pointed the firearm at police.

A part-time patrolman fired at Jefferson, striking him twice, Schurman said. Jefferson continued to flee into nearby woods, then surrendered.

Schurman said a handgun was recovered.

Clairton EMS transported Jefferson to UPMC Mercy for treatment of his injuries. Neither officer was injured.

Allegheny County police continue to investigate.

Information on Jefferson's warrants was not available at presstime.

Clairton police Chief Rob Hoffman said the officer who shot the suspect is a law enforcement veteran who had never before discharged his firearm as a Clairton officer.

Hoffman said the officer likely felt his and the other officer's lives were in danger.

“If you feel your life is threatened, then you have the right to defend yourself or others around you,” Hoffman said. “I think that this reinforces the training that they receive. They have followed protocol.”

Hoffman said the officer who shot Jefferson may be put on administrative leave.

The chief said his department has had dealings with Jefferson in the past.

“He's been arrested for violent crimes,” Hoffman said.

County police and Clairton firefighters blocked several streets during the investigation. Traffic was rerouted at the intersections of Toman Avenue and Tenth Street, Toman Avenue and Ninth Street, Tenth Street and Gary Avenue, and several intersections along Jefferson Drive.

Michael DiVittorio is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.He can be reached at 412-664-9161, ext. 1965, or mdivittorio@tribweb.com.

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