PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – A rifle-wielding man was killed by police after a carjacking, shooting spree and exchanging gunfire with officers along busy Route 51 Monday morning.
According to police, the incident began on Jucunda Street shortly after 10 a.m. Police initially responded to the scene for a call of shots being fired.
The ordeal only lasted about 20 minutes, ending by 10:30 a.m., but police described it as 20 minutes of “terror.”
“A sheriff’s unit engaged that suspect inside the carjacked vehicle and the suspect began firing on that sheriff’s unit. A vehicle pursuit ensued and on Route 51, the sheriff’s unit was involved in a traffic collision with a civilian vehicle. One female was injured in that traffic collision. A few moments later, the incident came to an end near the intersection of Saw Mill Run and Bausman Street, where the suspect began shooting at our officers and they were forced to protect themselves and return fire,” Pittsburgh Police Lt. Edward Cunningham said.
In returning fire, police killed the suspect 20-year-old Tyrone Harris.
He had just been released from the Allegheny County Jail.
Police say there were four different shooting scenes and over 100 shots were fired.
Both of the injured women were taken to local hospitals for treatment and are expected to survive their injuries.
KDKA’s Marty Griffin Reports:
Police say Harris was a gang member from Beltzhoover who had some kind of breakdown and shot at his mother, then shot at a daycare, then a jitney driver, and finally, a sheriff’s deputy before being killed by police about 20 minutes into the ordeal.
In a press conference Monday evening, Pittsburgh Police Chief Cameron McLay said police received numerous 911 calls when it started, saying someone was shooting at civilians.
McLay said the carjacking victim, whose car was stolen by Harris on Rochelle Street, flagged down officers and described his vehicle to them, which is how they found Harris.
After a responding officer found Harris in the vehicle on Brownsville Road in Knoxville, McLay said Harris fired shots at the officer in his car.
Police then followed Harris onto Route 51, where he got stuck in traffic near the Liberty Tunnels and then started firing at officers. That’s when police – four city officers, and one from the Port Authority – opened fire on Harris and he was killed.
“The police officers were able to safely neutralize the situation, and no innocent parties were harmed, despite the dense traffic in the area,” said McLay.
The five officers, as is normal in any officer-involved shooting, are now on paid leave, while the investigation continues.
Police said Harris was armed with a semi-automatic rifle, similar to the kind used by officers.
“This almost represents the worst kind of day for an officer to have to face in many ways,” said McLay. “This type of situation highlights the fact that there are certain realities in our society today where officers have to be prepared to be highly-skilled to deal with incredibly dangerous circumstances.”
In the press conference, McLay thanked officers for their “professionalism” and ability to shield civilians from the gunfire, as the road was packed with traffic.
Police say Harris’ motive is still unclear.
The Allegheny County District Attorney’s office will be investigating.
Watch the police press conference below: