DA questions location of sting that led to fatal Ross shootout | TribLIVE.com

DA questions location of sting that led to fatal Ross shootout

Tom Davidson
Natasha Lindstrom | Tribune-Review
Police investigate the scene of a shooting in Ross, July 23, 2019.
Kristina Serafini | Tribune-Review
Officials process the scene of shooting in the parking lot of Big Lots in Ross on Tuesday, July 23, 2019. An officer was shot twice while conducting an operation with the Attorney General’s Bureau of Narcotics Investigations. The officer is in stable condition. Another person was killed during the incident.
Natasha Lindstrom | Tribune-Review
Police investigate the scene of a shooting in Ross, July 23, 2019.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr. is taking issue with why a July 23 undercover drug sting that led to a shootout was set up in a Ross shopping plaza close to a daycare center and a busy road.

The sting led to a shootout between undercover agents of the state Attorney General’s Office and the man who was being set up, Omari Ali Thompson, 31, of Pittsburgh.

Thompson was killed in the shootout and the undercover agent was also shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Zappala is reviewing the case.

“There’s no question from the video that the person involved in the drug deal shot the officer and they returned fire,” Zappala said when asked about the case Thursday.

Between 15 and 20 shots were fired in the shootout in a parking lot in front of the Big Lots store at the Northland Center on McKnight Road.

“I’ve got a lot of issues with that,” Zappala said of the location of the bust.

It’s in an active retail center, close to a daycare and a busy road, he said.

“Here you’ve got a bunch of people,” Zappala said. “I think it’s more, ‘Explain to me why it went down the way it did. Explain to me why you were there.’ I haven’t received that explanation yet.”

Thompson had a history of criminal charges in Allegheny County dating to 2007 related to firearms, assault, robbery and selling and drug possession in Allegheny County, court records show.

When asked about the location of the bust, state Attorney General Josh Shapiro previously said that narcotics task force agents often have limited choices in where to conduct such operations.

A spokeswoman for Shapiro declined comment Thursday.

RELATED: Ross plaza shootout spurs scrutiny over undercover drug buys in public places

Tom Davidson is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tom at 724-226-4715, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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