Westmoreland Co. DA: Officers Knew Post Was A Threat

LOWER BURRELL (KDKA) — The investigation continues today after a veteran police officer was shot and killed Wednesday evening outside of a restaurant in Lower Burrell.

The fallen police officer has been identified as Officer Derek Kotecki, a K-9 handler with the Lower Burrell Police Department in Westmoreland County.

The shooting happened around 7 p.m. Wednesday outside of the Dairy Queen on Greensburg Road. This morning, a forensic photographer returned to the scene to take pictures of an ice cream stand turned scene of a tragedy.

Authorities say police had been searching for the suspected gunman, identified as Charles Post, after a shooting incident earlier this month outside of the Clarion Hotel in New Kensington.

He was wanted on charges of attempted homicide and aggravated assault after officials say he alleged fired shots at his former boss there.

It is reported that Post may have been at the Dairy Queen to surrender, according to his brother; however, that has not been confirmed by investigators.

Officials say they tracked Post to the restaurant.

“This evening, they received information that he would be here at the Dairy Queen in Lower Burrell, and New Kensington as well as Lower Burrell police officers proceeded there,” said John Peck, the Westmoreland County District Attorney on Wednesday night. “As they approached this white jeep that’s parked in the parking lot of the Dairy Queen, he fired at Officer Kotecki and struck him.”

Authorities say Post tried to get away, but a fence at the back of the restaurant kept him from fleeing. He died of a gunshot wound.

“Mr. Post attempted to flee the area, you’ll notice there’s a fence behind the Dairy Queen, that he was not able to surmount. As he came back near the parking lot area, officers were approaching him, advancing on him,” said Peck. “Again, at least one officer fired shots. It’s believed that Mr. Post fired a shot as well.”

It has not yet been determined if Post died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound or from a round from one of the other officers returning fire.

“Apparently, Mr. Post knew officers knew officers in the Lower Burrell Police Department, had been communicating with them, and had in fact communicated a threat directly to the officers about their attempts to pursue him,” Peck added.

Both were pronounced dead at the scene. Autopsies for both are planned for today.

Stay with KDKA for the latest on this developing story.

Westmoreland County District Attorney’s Office
Photo Gallery: Lower Burrell Officer Killed In Shooting, Suspected Gunman Dead
Officer Killed In Lower Burrell Shooting, Suspected Gunman Dead

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  • http://global-map.info/new/world-map/gov-corbett-orders-state-flags-at-half-staff-to-honor-kotecki Gov. Corbett Orders State Flags At Half-Staff To Honor Kotecki | | GLOBAL MapGLOBAL Map

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  • Thomas

    Marty Griffin is out there talking to the killers friends, is that sick or what?

  • Critter

    why did they approach the jeep instead of removing him at gunpoint?

  • Hamilton Berger

    The Westmorland county DA shold make sure criminals STAY in jail!

  • Hotel6

    Its the democrat “liberal” judges. Not the D. A.

    • Penns Woods

      It’s easy to identify the brainwashed news-talk junkies who happily parrot Rush, Quinn, Goebbels, Hannity, Beck, and their ilk. I was one of them until I realized what a grouchy uptight paranoid science-denying d-bag the right wing echo chamber can turn you into. Before you start calling me a commie, I think Iit’s worth saying that I’m a capitalist and don’t agree with state sponsored socialism, but I am completely disgusted by the right wing in this country especially when I read comments like yours.

    • Hotel7

      it has nothing to do with liberal or conservative… get off your political high horse and making everything about political parties and polarized….

      • Never would I stay at Hotel7

        Judges are either Liberal or Conservative, I have personally experienced being judged by a liberal view point, instead of the law,
        I also do not need Quin, Hannity, Rush , or any other media personalities to tell me what to think.

  • johnny69

    @ Critter: I thought the exact same thing. I am also wondering about the rumor that police had info that he was going to be at the Dairy Queen, isn’t it likely that the tip was from Post and that he ambushed the officers?

  • Reality

    Death penalty could possible deter these criminals’

    • marilyn

      Yes, it could if only Pennsylvania would enforce the death penalty! Do what they do in other states — execute them if they are on death row.

  • Sgt. Friday

    When did the Dairy Queen become the place to turn yourself in? On Criminal Minds, The First 48 and even Dog The Bounty Hunter they bust down the door of the dopeheads house! and take them off to jail.

  • Union6

    Its the democrat “liberal” judges who let the criminals out

  • Baker

    Criminals dont care about the death penalty. Take away the cable and pool tables. that will do it.

  • wackojacko

    As Critter stated,”why did they approach the jeep instead of removing him at gunpoint?”

  • Marie Stafura

    My deepest sympathy to the family who must live their lives without him. May God be with them always.

    Please, can we learn something from this? When someone is as dangerously disturbed as this person was, can we please never send an officer, wearing only a vest, to apprehend him? Can we send armored SWAT teams in to get him. God bless our police forces.

    • Alex Everett

      I’m sure someone would have a problem with that; it’d be a PR nightmare.

      I mean, I agree, and most cops I know would agree too. It’s better to have too much than too little; civilians don’t usually think the same way, though.

      • Gene

        I don’t know if the Lower Burrell Police Department has a SWAT team. The State Police do and probably would have done the arrest.

        I get this feeling that this kid got away with too many crimes for too long. One wonders if he had friends or family who were politically influential? Usually folks with money and friends can get away with crimes that ordinary people do time for doing.

        If this was the case maybe the local Government people didn’t want to escalate things into a SWAT operation?

        I bet next time this happens in that part of the country that they’ll send in the SWAT team. “Remember what happened to Derek Kotecki? Forget that ‘low level response’, man!”.

  • Whiskey

    A little late for god, dont u think?

  • Alex Everett

    From what it sounds like, there were multiple officers already, and Kotecki was hit. It’s not like he went up to the jeep all by his lonesome whistling dixie; it sounds like an unfortunately ‘lucky’ shot.

    • Alex Everett

      Sorry, that was in reply to Raul. Not sure why it didn’t work out that way.

  • johnny69

    Alex, I read that he was first and got shot just as two other officers arrived on the scene.

  • CEC

    You insensitive A$$, did you know Officer Kotecki? You know he was an egomaniac who wanted to be a hero, huh? Can you read or are you just stupid? He was called to apprehend a suspect who was willing to surrender. Not saying he shouldn’t have been on his guard but suggesting that he welcomed his fate is grotesquely insensitive.

    Santa Claus? I’m not a right wing, bible-beater either. I’m super liberal, and never go to church! However, I’m mature enough and have enough respect for humanity that I respect other people’s beliefs, even if they’re not aligned with my own. I don’t mock them or compare them to Santa Claus. You’re probably harboring some illogical grudge against police for a traffic ticket you deserved or because you were arrested for domestic violence. Grow up, lame a$$.

  • JOE


  • marilyn

    Can anyone tell me if the brother was involved and, if so, was he arrested too?

  • Gene

    Hold up! The kid was laying down in the back of his Jeep. Officer Kotecki couldn’t see him and wasn’t supposed to see him. It was an ambush!! So when he came to the spot he wasn’t sure what to expect. All he saw was an empty jeep.

    I wish that he’d been more wary and had cover or had ducked. How many of you have been shot at before? It’s not so easy. No second chance sometimes.

    I’ve been to that Dairy Queen. The fence is eight to ten feet high. It sits twenty yards from the edge of the parking lot up a small hill. The fence is almost impossible to climb since it has privacy strips. The Dairy Queen staff keep the lot clean and tidy.

    No place to hide for anyone. That kid was on a suicide mission.

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