LATROBE (KDKA) — A SWAT officer is in stable condition after being shot at during an 18-hour standoff that started Thursday night in Westmoreland County and left the suspect who barricaded himself inside the home dead.
It all came to a head just before noon Friday in the 400-block of Lloyd Avenue in what would turn out to be the 18th hour of the ordeal that started as police looked for the suspect in a drug store robbery for Oxycontin pills.
In one exchange of gunfire, State Police SERT Team members had to be rescued from the roof.
Earlier, an officer was shot in this helmet and was led away by fellow officers before being transported by ambulance. When police returned to the house, they engaged the suspect, 46-year-old Scott Murphy, and he ended up dead.
“Upon entry into the residence, Mr. Murphy shot one of the members of our Special Emergency Response Team,” said Capt. Stephen Eberle, of State Police. “After our member was shot, several members of the Special Emergency Response Team returned fire. Subsequently, Mr. Murphy died of a gunshot wound.”
Friends knew Murphy was troubled.
“He has mixed emotions about everything, so it’s hard to say whether he knew he was coming out or whether he knew he wasn’t,” said Melissa Garcia, Murphy’s friend.
And neighbors separated from their pets and their homes found that his problems became their problems.
“I’ve been here since eight o’clock last night,” said Cheryl Koloshinski, a neighbor. I’ve had no bath; I’ve had to miss my work. My work car is at my house; I didn’t even know if it was safe. My mother’s hysterical and I’m just about ready to pass out.”
The Westmoreland County Coroner has listed the cause and manner of death for Murphy as pending the results of an autopsy scheduled for tonight. He was pronounced dead at the scene just after 1:30 p.m.
Officials have not yet released the identity of the trooper who was wounded, but he underwent surgery at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital. He is in stable condition. State police say he sustained eye injuries.
They say he is a 15-year veteran of the State Police and a seven-year member of the SERT team.
The bullet struck the ballistic shield on his helmet, and then it grazed his head.
“The shield, which what I’m being told, shattered,” said Capt. Eberle. “The gunfire from the subject hit him in the face – a shield, ballistics shield – which in turn shattered, possibly saving his life.
The investigation into the incident continues.