INDIANA, Pa. (KDKA) — Investigators released new details today on a deadly shooting at a gun shop in Indiana County on New Year’s Eve in the community of Tunnelton.
Authorities now say they believe it had to do with an alleged extortion plot and fake lottery tickets.
“We cannot have citizens going around posing as law enforcement when indeed they are not,” said Indiana County District Attorney Patrick Dougherty.
But investigators say they believe the suspect, 43-year-old Jack Edmondson, was doing just that, allegedly telling the shooting victim, Frank Petro, that he was under investigation regarding illegal lottery tickets and money he may have won.
“We believe that Edmonson had targeted Mr. Petro and was using the information he obtained on his own to extort money from Petro,” said Dougherty.
At a press conference, state police and the Indiana County District Attorney said that Edmondson, a former disgraced cop and convicted felon, told Petro and his brother to give him the winnings and nothing would happen. They complied twice.
Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Mark McMahan said, “$44,000 to $47,000 on one instance, and $87,000 on another instance.”
But Edmondson’s alleged extortion plan fell apart in November.
“He was previously charged with impersonating a law enforcement official back on Nov. of 2013,” Dougherty said.
Petro’s brother found out Edmondson was a fake and told him he had retained a lawyer to get back the money.
Investigators say they believe Petro was killed to keep Edmundson’s alleged extortion scam from being revealed to law enforcement.
“At this point, I haven’t ruled out the possibility of a death penalty,” said Dougherty.
Meanwhile, Edmonson remains at UPMC Presbyterian Hospital in Pittsburgh recovering from a gunshot wound. His door is being guarded by a Pennsylvania state trooper.