WASHINGTON (KDKA/AP) – The shooting death by a state trooper of a man police said was armed with a knife has been ruled justified following a coroner’s inquest.
Deputy Coroner Steven Toprani made the decision Monday after several hours of testimony about the October death of 34-year-old Anthony Gallo.
Troopers say the man was armed and that he was threatening neighbors. The man’s family says he was suicidal.
The coroner’s inquest focused on the actions of two state troopers on Oct. 1, 2017.
Anthony Edward Gallo, 34, of Mark Avenue, was shot multiple times inside a trailer home.
Called by family members, Troopers Chad Weaver and Matthew Shaver entered the trailer.
The two troopers were interviewed as part of an investigation by the District Attorney’s Office. Audio tapes of those interviews were played during Monday’s inquest.
Troopers testified that Gallo repeatedly said, “Shoot me, shoot me,” and would not drop a knife he was holding. Gallo than allegedly advanced toward one of the troopers. The trooper testified he shot Gallo multiple times with his AR-15 service rifle.
“We’ve been in there for about an hour-and-a-half, I haven’t heard one shred of evidence as to how this was a justifiable homicide. The troopers, who are not here, admitted that Anthony Gallo said, ‘Shoot me, shoot me.’ That is a cry for help, this was a mental health situation,” family attorney Noah Geary said.
Geary maintains there were other options troopers could have used.
“The police did absolutely nothing to deescalate the situation, or to utilize any type of techniques to deescalate the situation prior to use of deadly force,” Geary said.
Gallo’s family attorney said they will pursue a civil rights lawsuit against the state police.
Washington County coroner Timothy Warco recused himself from the inquest because the father of the trooper who fired the fatal shots works at the coroner’s office.
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