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Braddock mayor says he's justified in pulling shotgun after hearing noise like gunshots

Jasmine Goldband | Tribune-Review
In this file photo, Braddock Mayor John Fetterman talks about the opening of a MedExpress urgent care center as part of a redevelopment plan in Braddock during a press conference at the Allegheny County Courthouse, Downtown, Tuesday, April 10, 2012.

Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 11:10 a.m.
 

Braddock Mayor John Fetterman said on Friday that he has no regrets about pulling a shotgun on a man who he thought was running away from a shooting.

The man told police that he was a jogger, and officers found no weapons on him during the Jan. 26 incident.

“I did what I thought was appropriate at the time. I don't have any regrets now. It was just a very confusing and scary situation,” said Fetterman, 43.

Braddock police and the man could not be reached for comment.

Fetterman acknowledged he had shells in the magazine of the 20-gauge shotgun he pulled from his truck, but he said the chamber was empty and he kept the safety on.

It is illegal to have a loaded rifle or shotgun in a vehicle, Allegheny County District Attorney's Office spokesman Mike Manko said.

Manko said his office had not received a complaint and that county police would handle any investigation. County police Assistant Superintendent James Morton said they are not investigating.

About 4:30 p.m. that day, Fetterman said, he was outside his home on Library Street with his son, 4, when he heard what sounded like a dozen high-powered rifle shots coming from nearby Parker Avenue. He took his son inside to be with his wife and called police, he said.

Fetterman said he noticed a man, dressed in black and wearing a face mask and goggles, running from the direction of the gunshot sounds. Fetterman followed the man in his truck into North Braddock, stopping him on Jones Avenue.

When the man refused Fetterman's two orders to stop to wait for police, the mayor pulled the shotgun from his truck to stop him from leaving. He said he never pointed the gun at the man.

Police showed up shortly afterward, he said.

The North Braddock man told police that he was jogging and that he saw three children playing with bottle rockets that could have accounted for the sounds, Fetterman said.

“What kind of kids play with fireworks when it's 18 degrees out? The story doesn't make any sense,” said Fetterman, who said the snow had no footprints.

“Most important, I know the difference between fireworks and gunshots,” he said.

Police did not charge the jogger.

Tory N. Parrish is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-380-5662 or tparrish@tribweb.com.

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