Attorney: Former Marine did not threaten troopers before being fatally shot in North Union
Pennsylvania State Police troopers responding to a domestic dispute in North Union were under no threat when they opened fire and fatally shot a retired U.S. Marine, an attorney representing the man's family said Tuesday.
“Sometimes the police fib,” said Pittsburgh attorney Joel Sansone. “And it looks like their account has some holes in it.”
State police did not return calls seeking more information on Tuesday.
Authorities said the officers, whom state police have not identified, retreated when Shawn E. Knight pointed two handguns at them as they attempted to enter his home at 52 Rose Blvd. about 10:40 p.m. Friday.
The officers fired four to six shots when they said Knight, 50, failed to follow their orders to put down the weapons, striking Knight three times in the torso.
Knight was taken by ambulance to Ruby Memorial Hospital in Morgantown, W.Va., where he was pronounced dead.
The officers' account differs from what Knight's wife and some neighbors witnessed, Sansone said.
According to Sansone, Knight heard a commotion outside his home along Rose Boulevard, grabbed two handguns and went to the front door.
Sansone said Knight held the guns at his side — behind the solid part of a screen door — so the troopers couldn't have seen them from their vantage point.
He said the troopers did not tell Knight to throw down his weapons before they opened fire.
“My initial investigation shows that police were under no threat,” Sansone said.
The troopers were not harmed.
They were placed on administrative duty, which is standard state police procedure.
Fayette County District Attorney Jack Heneks said police have retrieved video surveillance tapes from two police cruisers, Knight's home and other video cameras posted along Rose Boulevard.
Sansone said his private investigator will continue to interview witnesses before he decides whether to file a federal civil lawsuit if it appears the officers used excessive force.
“He was a good man who raised a good family,” he said.
Adam Brandolph is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-391-0927 or email@example.com.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Wolf touts in-home care for seniors
- As House looks to dismantle state stores, hybrid system might be option
- ‘Tipping point’ near for Pa. government, conservative expert predicts at Freedom Forum
- Walking gets increasingly deadly for pedestrians in Pa.
- Pa. Senate approves ‘paycheck protection’ constitutional amendment
- Liquor privatization bill clears Pennsylvania House panel
- Former state Treasurer McCord’s quick fall prompts deeper analysis
- Penn State’s ‘Thon’ raises $13 million
- 3 killed, 1 wounded in Philadelphia shootings
- Pennsylvania, Congress consider banning powdered alcohol
- Philly DA challenges Wolf’s hold on executions