Zappala Not Ready To Make Ruling On Whether Shooting Of Suspect Was JustifiedBy Ralph Iannotti

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — The Allegheny County District Attorney says two Port Authority Police officers fired a total of 12 shots at the man accused of fatally stabbing a police K-9 in Wilkinsburg last weekend.

The DA, however, could not say how many bullets actually hit the man.

District Attorney Stephen Zappala held a news conference Thursday afternoon regarding last Sunday’s police-involved shooting of 37-year-old Bruce Kelley Jr., who is described as a homeless man.

The incident happened after Kelley Jr. and his father, Bruce Kelley Sr., were seen drinking near a gazebo along a path near the East Busway.

At the news conference, the district attorney released surveillance video of a portion of police’s confrontation with Kelley.

In that video, Zappala says only one of the officers is seen with his gun drawn and pointed at Kelley, who himself was armed with a four-inch knife. The other officers in the video, Zappala said, have Tasers or pepper spray.

WEB EXTRA: Watch the Surveillance Video Released by the DA:

Zappala says he has not yet determined if the shooting of Kelley was justified after Kelley fatally stabbed Port Authority Police K-9 Aren.

“When the dog engaged Kelley Jr., it attached to his left arm. The knife, as you can see, is in his right hand, and he stabbed the dog first non-fatally,” Zappala said. “He stabbed the dog a second time, at least, up under his snout, severed an artery in his tongue and the dog bled to death.”

The DA said he has also not determined yet if the police dog was released properly in the situation.

Zappala said it appears officers followed procedures – first telling Kelley to stop, then using pepper spray and Tasers on him, and then finally warning him that the police dog would be released.

(Image Courtesy: Pittsburgh Police)

(Image Courtesy: Pittsburgh Police)

Zappala said, “Do you engage [Kelley] with deadly force? Could we have done something short of taking his life? I think we should have that discussion.”

The prosecutor added that law enforcement “should also talk about how we use canines.”

A memorial tribute was held for K-9 Aren on Thursday morning, which hundreds attended.

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Before the shooting, Zappala said Kelley was pepper sprayed twice and Tasers were deployed on him six time.

Zappala says before he can make a ruling, police reports and interviews need to be completed. Also, he is waiting for toxicology test results.

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