PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) – A prosecutor says the shooting of Pittsburgh child-rape suspect by a U.S. marshals-led task force was justified, and that a sheriff’s deputy who fired some of the shots won’t be charged and wasn’t under the influence of cocaine at the time.
“I believe that the team was of the reasonable belief that they were the object of death or serious bodily injury, and their response was both appropriate and necessary under the circumstances,” Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala said.
Zappala released scene pictures from the Jan. 6 incident in the city’s Knoxville section that show, in all, task force members fired 15 shots.
Accused child molester, 47-year-old Leslie Sapp III, was killed.
Zappala says the shooting was justified because Sapp confronted the officers with a toy air gun when they burst into Sapp’s home to arrest him.
But Zappala’s office conducted a deeper inquiry when it was revealed that Sheriff Deputy Rich Dwyer, who fired one of the four shots to hit Sapp, tested positive for cocaine in samples sent to two out-of-state laboratories.
“Both labs, their analysis yielded a positive result for the metabolite of cocaine,” said Zappala.
On Wednesday, Zappala further concluded that although there was cocaine in his system, Dwyer did not fire the fatal shot and was not impaired at the time.
Lab results revealed that the deputy had ingested cocaine 72 to 48 hours before and was no longer under the influence.
“His demeanor, his response to commands, his preparation for this particular detail, and specifically in consideration of the lab analysis have concluded that he was not under the influence of cocaine,” Zappala said.
As a result, Dwyer will not face manslaughter or any other criminal charges.
Also, although Dwyer has been fired by the Sheriff’s Office, he has applied for reinstatement. Whether that happens or not will be up to a neutral arbitrator.
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