PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — State Police say a Lawrence County police chief was killed Sunday.
They say he accidentally shot himself over the weekend while cleaning a .40 caliber pistol at his home. Police say he was home alone at the time, but was discovered a short while later by his girlfriend.
Chief Thomas Edward Macri, 56, was taken to Jameson Hospital where he was pronounced dead an hour and a half later.
The chief was a retired New Castle policeman and worked for more than 30 years in law enforcement. He had been the chief in Bessemer Borough since 2012.
“As a community, we’re all deeply saddened,” said State Trooper Joseph Vascetti. “He faithfully served the community in the last several years and he’ll be missed.”
Officials say Macri was wounded in the chest.
“The type of weapon he had, could easily discharge. We’ve investigate similar type incidents before,” said Trooper Vascetti. “We’re just pending the forensics examination, and based on that, a manner of death will be established.”
Friends say Chief Macri was an avid runner, who often won many of his races.
At the New Castle Police Department, officers are wearing a black stripe over their badges to remember Macri. He worked at the department for more than 25 years.
“My whole family is saddened by what happened,” said New Castle Police Chief Robert Salem.
He says Macri was more than a colleague. He was a friend.
“He had a big heart,” said Chief Salem. “He was an avid runner. He ran everyday with my kids. They would go running together. He would call to see how they’re doing. He cared about the kids, cared how they were doing. He called me last week to see how they were doing, when their race was.”
Meanwhile, at the Moco House, a local coffee shop, the baristas are remembering the town’s police chief, Tom Macri.
“It’s just a very sad day for the community, a great loss,” said Tina Leslie, who works at Moco House.
The coffee shop is just across the street from the Bessemer Borough Police Department, and Chief Macri visited there often.
“A community this small, when you lose someone like that, I think we all feel that, just very sad,” said Leslie.
No foul play is suspected.
An autopsy was performed Monday where Macri’s cause of death was determined to be a gunshot wound to the lower chest area. Officials say one of his artery’s was severed.
The investigation continues.