PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The Allegheny County District Attorney has ruled that the fatal shooting of a child abductor by police was justified.
Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala showed reporters Moon Township Police dash cam video of a chase after an Amber Alert last December as the cars made their way through the township toward the airport.
At the wheel, 21-year-old Jared Brown-Garnham – who police say was agitated about returning to Massachusetts to testify against his friends in a homicide case.
In the backseat, sitting in a car seat was Ashley Spring’s 8-month-old daughter, Bailea.
Spring and Garnham met online a few months before.
Police say Garnham took the little girl after getting into an argument with Spring at a Brentwood convenience store. Garnham then took off with the baby in Spring’s Toyota Avalon, prompting an Amber Alert.
After the Amber Alert was issued, police near Neville Island spotted the car and Garnham took them on a chase, ending at the Pittsburgh International Airport.
The car headed up University Boulevard, and Garnham went around a Robert Morris Police roadblock.
He turned west onto 376 toward Pittsburgh International’s cargo terminals. He crosses the median, and as a county police car approached, he turned left onto airport property toward the control tower.
At times he seems to lose control of the car. Then, he became boxed in at a gate.
Once there, Garnham alarmed police by his actions:
1.) Bringing the car seat with the baby to the front of the car and threatening to harm the baby and himself.
2.) Actually stabbing himself.
3.) Then, actually picking the baby up from the car seat, placing her in his lap to use as a shield.
Afterward, pictures were taken of the baby’s neck wounds. They turned out to be superficial.
At the gate, though, he tried to ram the gate and his wheels spun.
“The front of the car is now on fire, so that’s pushing up everybody’s timetable,” says Zappala.
Police are now ready to act.
They didn’t want to take the shot through a solid object,” said Zappala, explaining that shattered glass could harm the baby. “They didn’t want to take the shot through the windshield so a state trooper knocks out the rear passenger window with an asp so that they get a clear shot at the guy.”
Garnham was killed, and the baby was taken alive.
“One officer breaks the rear, right passenger window. At this point, another officer, when he had the ability to take a shot, reaches into the car and shoots him within 12 to 20 inches. One shot. It was a head shot,” Zappala said.
“They saved that baby’s life,” Zappala said.
He determined that a state policeman’s use of force was justifiable.