Penn Hills teacher fatally shot by police in Shaler |

Penn Hills teacher fatally shot by police in Shaler

Erica Cebzenov | For the Tribune-Review
Allegheny County police on the scene of a shooting in Shaler’s Spencer Woods neighborhood.
Donald Babbit
Erica Cebzenov | For the Tribune-Review
Allegheny County police on the scene of a shooting in Shaler.
Erica Cebzenov | For the Tribune-Review
Allegheny County police on the scene of a shooting in Shaler.

A Shaler man was shot and killed by police at his home Tuesday during a domestic dispute call, authorities said.

The deceased was identified by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office as Donald Babbit, 49.

Penn Hills School District said Babbit was a high school math teacher in a statement about his passing posted on the district’s website,

“Don was a beloved member of our staff and had the distinct reputation among students, families, and colleagues as being an exceptional teacher,” the statement read. “He will be missed.”

Grief counselors will be at the high school Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for any student, staff or community member. The Rev. Jay Mitlo of Faith Community Church is expected to be there as well during those times for additional support.

“It’s a terrible day for Penn Hills,” school board President Erin Vecchio said. “My sympathy goes out to his family. He was a great teacher and it’s very sad for the community.”

The incident remains under investigation.

Officers from Shaler, Hampton, Millvale and Indiana townships were dispatched to the 800 block of the Spencer Woods plan off Route 8, according to Superintendent Coleman McDonough of the Allegheny County Police Department.

McDonough said Shaler officers responded to an Allegheny County 911 call at 3:05 p.m. The woman who placed the call said her husband was “behaving erratically” and had access to weapons.

Officers surrounded the home and blocked off several streets in the area.

“Their concern was that none of the children in the area, in the neighborhood, could be harmed,” McDonough said.

Meanwhile, officers said they repeatedly asked Babbit via a public address system to exit the home. When he did, McDonough said, he was visibly armed with a handgun and pointed it at police.

Three officers fired, striking Babbit multiple times, McDonough said.

According to a statement from Allegheny County Police, two of the officers who fired were from Shaler and the third was from Hampton. All have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated.

Babbit was pronounced dead shortly after 4 p.m.

Shaler police Lt. Sean Frank said all the officers who responded “are safe” but no additional information would be released until investigators have had more time to piece details together.

Neighbors told Tribune-Review news partner WPXI-TV that they heard a “barrage” of more than a dozen gunshots.

Allegheny County police are assisting Shaler police with the investigation, Frank said.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using 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.