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Murphy family gathers, offers no comment at site of deadly Latrobe standoff

Saturday, July 20, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
 

Family members gathered in the backyard of the Latrobe home that just a day before had been the site of a 17-hour standoff that ended with a gunbattle that left a state trooper injured and an armed robbery suspect dead.

The green-sided home along busy Lloyd Avenue where Scott M. Murphy, 46, barricaded himself Thursday night and into Friday was quiet on Saturday morning. A concrete block was propped against the home's front door, and the mailbox's red flag was up.

Family members arrived shortly after 11 a.m. but declined to comment after going into the house for the first time since the standoff.

Passing motorists slowed to get a better look at the home's broken windows and tattered curtains, the only visible signs of Friday morning's shootout that sent state police Special Emergency Response Team members jumping out of second-story windows and left Trooper Brian King shot in the eye.

King, 44, a 14-year veteran who has spent 12 years at the Belle Vernon barracks, underwent eye surgery at UPMC Presbyterian in Pittsburgh on Friday. Police said a bulletproof shield on King's helmet may have saved his life.

“His surgery was successful, and he will be released in the very near future,” Trooper Robin Mungo said. “(It's) still unknown what, if any, permanent damage he might have to his eye.”

The standoff began after Murphy allegedly robbed Precision Care Pharmacy in Latrobe on Thursday afternoon, taking “several hundred OxyContin (pills).” Police attempted to arrest him around 7 p.m., but Murphy resisted and ran to the upstairs of the house.

Neighbors and others who knew Murphy said he had been depressed since his wife of 21 years, Lisa, died on the day after Christmas 2011.

“I did not even see this coming. I didn't expect he would do something like this,” said Joe Bowser, 27, of Latrobe. “When I met Scott, he was always nice ... but he's also a drug addict. His wife passed away a couple years ago, and it was all downhill from there pretty much.”

Bowser said he's been friends with Murphy's stepson, Brandon Simms, for about eight years and was at the house Wednesday watching a movie with Simms, and everything seemed normal.

He never knew Murphy to have a job, Bowser said, and Murphy had pawned household items, including Simms' video games or DVDs, to get money for heroin and pills.

Bowser said he talked to Simms about 3 p.m. Friday, who told him that his father had said that “he wasn't coming out unless he was in a body bag.”

Police tried to negotiate with Murphy, even taunting him on a bullhorn, saying, “Don't be a sissy” and “Come outside. Be a man.”

Troopers stormed the home at 11:41 a.m. once negotiations broke down, said Capt. Stephen Eberle, Greensburg station commander.

Murphy died from a gunshot, but police declined to say who fired the fatal shot, pending an investigation. An autopsy was done Friday night, but the cause and manner of death were withheld pending further investigation.

State police have scheduled a news conference for 10 a.m. Monday.

Kari Andren is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-850-2856 or kandren@tribweb.com.

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