JEFFERSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — A father is in despair after his son was shot by two state troopers right before his eyes, but he is not blaming the officers.

Police were called to a home on Bethel Ridge Road in Avella just before 12:30 a.m. for a domestic dispute.

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According to police, a relative of the suspect told officials that 20-year-old Steven Ward was “out of control, damaging property and being physical with family members.”

State police say Ward, who was armed, charged at the responding officers.

The officers commanded Ward to drop his weapon, but police say he failed to comply and that’s when both officers fired shots.

His father just hopes his son survives.

Perhaps it was a cry for help from Steven.

“He said he didn’t want to live no more. He said he was just tired and I don’t know why,” said his father, Charles Ward as he held back tears.

State police perceived it as a deadly threat when they arrived at the family homes at 357 Bethel Ridge Road in Avella.

“They told him to put it down but he didn’t listen, and he didn’t listen to me neither,” said Ward.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office said Steven Ward had a 10-inch Bowie knife. Charles Ward told KDKA it was an unopened pocket knife. Both said he was refusing to drop it.

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“They told him to put it down and I also did. I mean you know the things that happen today nowadays. You can blame them, but I mean what do you do?” asked Charles Ward. As devastated as he is, he understands. “I can’t blame the police. They’re doing their job.”

Charles Ward said he never saw his son behave like he did, acting aggressive and even tussling with him before police arrived.

“It’s the worst day of my life. He’s the only thing I have,” said Ward.

Ward’s father told KDKA his son’s mother was never in the picture. His greatest blessing is fighting for his life.

“I just hope my boy is okay,” said Ward.

Steven Ward was shot once in the arm and once in his side, according to his father. Ward said his son had surgery because the bullet that passed through his side shattered some of his vertebrae.

In the meantime, state police have filed criminal charges against Steven Ward. The most serious of which are felony charges of aggravated assault.


The two officers were not injured. However, they have both been placed on administrative duties as a standard procedure during an investigation.

The Washington County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case.

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