PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — It was by all accounts a justified shooting.
Accused child molester Leslie Sapp was shot and killed last month by several officers after investigators say Sapp brandished a very lethal-looking pellet gun.
But now, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala confirms KDKA’s report that one of those officers, Sheriff Deputy Richard Dwyer, tested positive for drugs.
“What you guys reported was that there was a positive tox screen for cocaine. That is correct,” said Zappala.
The city police are heading the investigation into the shooting, but Zappala says he’s advised them to consider possible criminal charges against Dwyer, including manslaughter, even though he said ballistic tests have determined that Dwyer did not fire the fatal shot.
“And if you act in a reckless manner, which means he may have been impaired, and obviously that results in death, those are the elements of involuntary manslaughter. So this is a serious matter,” Zappala.
Meanwhile, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay said he could shed no new light on the investigation and what impact this positive test might have.
“I can’t speculate on what any new fact might mean in the context of an investigation, especially one that’s open,” he said.
For now, Dwyer is on paid administrative leave pending a hearing on Friday where the Sheriff’s Office has recommended his firing.
Zappala says even if Dwyer is dismissed that may not be permanent.
“Firing under these circumstances often times leads to reinstatement. Arbitrator may put him back to work, but that is not our issue,” Zappala said.
The issue at hand is whether what appeared to be a justified shooting by police officers has suddenly become more complicated by this positive drug screen.
Investigator are now trying to sort all of that out.