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Man threatens police with vehicle during chase

| Saturday, Jan. 25, 2014, 1:21 a.m.

A West Mifflin man was arrested on Friday and taken to Allegheny County Jail on multiple counts in connection with a vehicle chase from Munhall to West Homestead.

Christopher Shaffer, 23, is charged with three counts of aggravated assault, three counts of resisting arrest, one count of failure to yield at a stop sign, one count of reckless driving, two counts of flight to avoid apprehension, one count of fleeing and eluding police, and one count of receiving stolen property.

Munhall police Chief Pat Campbell said one of his officers found a black four-door Honda Civic with two occupants in an area known for drug activity on Friday around 3:30 p.m.

The officer ran the license plate and learned the vehicle was reported stolen out of Munhall.

Campbell said the vehicle left the area, and police spotted it traveling along Twenty-Second Avenue.

Officers attempted to make a traffic stop when the driver, later identified as Shaffer, took off down the avenue and onto Forest Avenue in West Homestead, where Homestead officers formed a barrier with their patrol cars.

Campbell said the driver stopped and put his hands up in an apparent sign of surrender. Officers exited their vehicles and attempted to make an arrest when the driver began slamming his car into police cruisers. One Munhall and two Homestead cars were damaged. No officers were injured.

Campbell said officers fired at the stolen car's tires, not into the vehicle, and the people inside were not injured.

The Civic eventually came to a stop next to the West Homestead police station.

“We're just tying to stop the threat,” Campbell said. “(Officers) were out of their vehicles at the time. He was using that vehicle as a weapon against them. The vehicle was disabled by the officers, at which point he was taken into custody.”

A female passenger is not being charged, police said.

Munhall police are filing charges at Magisterial District Judge Thomas R. Torkowsky's office. West Homestead police are handling the accident report because the vehicle crashed in their jurisdiction. Evidence will be shared by both departments.

Allegheny County police also responded to the scene.

There were two active warrants for Shaffer's arrest, one from Pittsburgh police and another from Allegheny County police, officials said.

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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