Coroner’s Inquest Finds Trooper Justified In Save-A-Lot Fatal Shooting
GREENSBURG (KDKA) — The surveillance video showed a fight between a man armed with a scissors and a state trooper who was trying to arrest him.
In the end, the trooper shot and killed the man outside the Save-A-Lot on Route 119 in January.
On Thursday, the coroner announced the result of his inquest and determined Trooper Chad Cope was justified in the fatal shooting. But that was not what the family of Seth O’Donnell wanted to hear, and they let their opinions be known.
Emotional family and supporters of O’Donnell left angry and disappointed with the decision to clear the cop who shot and killed him.
“Nothing but praise for Trooper Cope and his behavior,” said Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck.
Westmoreland County Coroner Kenneth Bacha said he and others spent hours poring over surveillance video from the Save-A-Lot.
He said Trooper Cope, who was stabbed in the head and in his protective vest, used his voice command, a Taser and wrestling before reaching for his gun.
O’Donnell was arrested a year prior in the alleged attack of his mother and a neighbor.
Peck said troopers were instructed to arrest O’Donnell on Jan. 4 after reports he was threatening store employees.
O’Donnell’s supporters questioned the police tactics.
“If they knew he needed to be apprehended, why didn’t they send more than one trooper and how could that trooper’s radio just mysteriously malfunction,” said one O’Donnell supporter.
“He was on probation, and so he should have been arrested, and it would have stopped everything,” added another person.
“We never like to see this happen,” said Peck. “It’s an unfortunate and tragic circumstance, but Trooper Cope – I’m sure in his own mind – knew that he had to protect himself and knew that he had to protect other members of community.”
Leaving the courtroom, the family who lost a 26-year-old was still in disbelief that that the officer acted properly.
“He said when he walked in he was going to kill him,” said one family member.
The coroner said O’Donnell had so many drugs in his system at the time of his death, he would have ruled it an overdose death if it weren’t for the bullet wounds.
He was high on massive amounts of Benadryl and an antidepressant.