D.A. Rules Shooting Involving Off-Duty Butler Co. Trooper Was Justified

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger has determined that a Pennsylvania State Police trooper was justified when he shot and killed a man outside his home in Butler Township last month.

Goldinger said Kristopher Barkus left home telling his family he was going to jump off a bridge on June 6. Instead, Barkus went to Tpr. Brian Knirnschild’s house nearby, where he had gone once before.

Tpr. Knirnschild saw saw Barkus through the window and sent his wife and three children to a bedroom.

Then, he grabbed a gun and went outside to confront Barkus

Apparently, Tpr. Knirnschild previously warned Barkus not to come back to his home after the previous incident.

Goldinger said Barkus began walking toward the trooper and pulled what appeared to be a gun out of his backpack. Tpr. Knirnschild ordered him to drop the weapon.

Around that time, Barkus’ brother arrived on the scene. The district attorney said Tpr. Knirnschild was uncertain about his safety and even though the man pointed a gun at his head threatening to kill himself, he fired twice – fatally wounding Barkus.

Goldinger said State Police consider the shooting “a suicide by a police officer.”
The attorney for the Barkus family disagrees, saying he went to the trooper for help and the investigation was not thorough. .


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