Community comes together to mourn death of St. Clair police officer
The soft glow of candles grew throughout the evening Sunday.
A cross of small tea lights flickered on the ground near a parked St. Clair police cruiser.
About 50 people gathered at Memory Park in New Florence to remember and honor St. Clair Officer Lloyd Reed Jr., who was fatally shot while responding to a domestic violence call Saturday night at a house just across the intersection on Ligonier Street.
Raymond A. Shetler Jr., 31, of New Florence is charged with Reed's killing. He was arrested about 3 a.m. Sunday after a tip led police to his location just outside the small town in the northeastern corner of Westmoreland County.
“This is another horrible tragedy that brings to light how difficult a police officer's job can be on a daily basis,” District Attorney John Peck said. “A police officer responding to a domestic call is typical, and too many of these tragedies happen in this manner.”
The flag outside the St. Clair police department was lowered to half-staff Sunday, as a crowd of officers wearing black bands on their badges gathered at the station near Seward.
Reed, 54, had more than 20 years of experience in law enforcement, authorities said. He had been with the St. Clair department, which employs only part-time officers, for about five years.
He lived with his wife, Rosemarie, in Hollsopple in Somerset County, Westmoreland County Sheriff Jonathan Held said.
“He was a dedicated officer, down to earth,” said Held, who met Reed on several occasions. “He really cared for the community. It's hard when it hits your own backyard. It really is tough. But, unfortunately, it seems to be happening more and more today.”
Gov. Tom Wolf ordered all United States and state flags in the Capitol Complex and at all state facilities in Westmoreland County to be lowered to half-staff in Reed's honor.
“Thoughts and prayers are with family and colleagues of St. Clair Township Officer Lloyd Reed, who was killed in the line of duty last night,” Wolf said in a statement. “Today, and every day, we are reminded of those that make the ultimate sacrifice to keep our communities safe.”
St. Clair police said Sunday that Reed's family declined to comment and was requesting privacy.
Officials have released few details about the shooting and what led to it.
Reed was called to the Ligonier Street house on Saturday night after receiving reports of a domestic incident. The home is owned by Kristin Luther, Shetler's girlfriend, who told the Tribune-Review she called 911 to ask police to remove him because he was drunk and abusive.
Reed arrived at the scene and identified himself as a police officer before shots were fired, Peck said. He declined to release additional information.
Tim Shank, who lives two doors down, said he was watching television with his 12-year-old son about 9:30 p.m. when they heard gunshots. After the shooting, Shank saw paramedics and more police officers arrive. He was told the shooter had just fled on foot up nearby Ninth Street, so he went back inside and locked his door.
“This stuff never happens around here,” Shank said. “Not in this town.”
Reed was taken to Conemaugh Memorial Medical Center in Johnstown, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 10 p.m. Saturday, said Jeff Lees, Cambria County chief deputy coroner.
An autopsy showed the officer died of a single gunshot wound in the chest, Lees said. Reed was wearing a protective vest, but the bullet entered his chest from the side, at an angle.
Police found Shetler walking along a road near a power plant outside New Florence after a six-hour manhunt. He was arrested without incident, authorities said.
Shetler was treated for a gunshot wound in the right shoulder before he was taken to the state police barracks in Greensburg for questioning, Trooper Stephen Limani said.
He was charged Sunday with criminal homicide. Online court records indicated he had not been arraigned by that evening. Peck said Shetler will be charged with two other counts related to the domestic situation.
Visitation for Reed is scheduled for 2 to 8 p.m. Thursday in Emmanuel Baptist Church in Richland, Cambria County. The funeral service will be at 11 a.m. Friday at the War Memorial in Johnstown.