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State police kill knife-wielding suspect in child abduction from Brentwood

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By Rick Wills

Published: Sunday, Dec. 8, 2013, 10:15 a.m.

State police praised a trooper for saving the life of an 8-month-old by fatally shooting the man who they say held the kidnapped girl at knifepoint and used her as a shield during a wild chase on Sunday that ended at Pittsburgh International Airport.

“He took the life of a man who decided not to respond to our verbal commands,” said Trooper Robin Mungo, a spokeswoman for the agency, which is investigating the incident with Allegheny County police. “The trooper saved the baby.”

The unnamed officer fatally shot Jared Brown-Garnham, 21, in the head in a car at a gate on the Moon side of the airport about 2 a.m. Mungo said Brown-Garnham was the ex-boyfriend of the child's mother, whom she did not identify, but was not related to the child, identified in an Amber Alert as Bailey Fergurson.

Brown-Garnham was originally from Massachusetts. Relatives could not be reached.

The shooting followed a series of crashes involving gates on the cargo side of the airport, but it did not affect operations there, said JoAnn Jenny, a spokeswoman for the Allegheny County Airport Authority.

“This did not take place near the terminals, and he never got inside the gate. There was no disruption at the airport,” Jenny said.

Trouble began about 11:15 p.m. outside a pizza shop and convenience store on Route 51 in Brentwood, where Brown-Garnham and the child's mother got into a fight.

“She ran in and out of here about 15 times,” said Sabo Ajdinovic, who was working at E.M. Pizzeria. “She pounded on the freezer, got down on the floor and told me to call 911. She said that ‘he will kill my baby.' ”

The woman was with a boy who was about 6 and the man who took her car. Brown-Garnham never entered the shop, Ajdinovic said.

“She was fighting with him. He was trying to put her in the car, and she did not want to get in,” he said

He said the woman said she was from West Virginia. He did not know why the two were in Pittsburgh.

George Fiske III, a funeral director in Brockton, Mass., who said he knows Brown-Garnham's family and handled his mother's arrangements in October, did not know why the man was in Pennsylvania, given that the rest of the family lives in Massachusetts.

Police issued the Amber Alert about two hours later for a 2000 Toyota Avalon with a West Virginia plate, telling officers to look for Brown-Garnham and Bailey Fergurson.

Mungo said she did not know why two hours passed before police issued the alert.

Ohio Township police spotted the car in Neville about 1:25 a.m. and chased it to Moon, where Brown-Garnham rammed several security gates on Hangar Road at the airport. Police said he threatened the child with a knife while crashing into police cars, putting the knife to her neck and using her as a shield.

“He wasn't trying to get a flight. He probably didn't know where he was,” Mungo said.

When the car became hung up on an airport barrier and Brown-Garnham kept pressing the gas, a front tire caught fire. Officers approached the car, and the trooper shot the suspect once.

Brown-Garnham died in Allegheny General Hospital, North Side. Fergurson was taken to Children's Hospital in Lawrence-ville for treatment of neck injuries from the knife and was released about 8 a.m.

Mungo said the trooper would not be placed on leave or investigated.

In May, Garnham-Brown testified as a witness in a murder case involving a Taunton, Mass., teenager who was stabbed to death in 2010, according to the Taunton Daily Gazette.

Staff writers Matthew Santoni and Stephanie Hacke contributed to this report. Rick Wills is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.



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