SOUTH STRABANE TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – One man is dead following a police-involved shooting in Washington County.
According to state police, troopers pulled over a vehicle near the Murtland Avenue exit along Interstate 70 around 11:22 p.m. on Thursday.
Troopers initially stopped a white Chevrolet pickup truck because the operator was driving erratically. They later learned the vehicle had been reported stolen out of Alabama.
However, the suspect took off and led police on a chase heading west in the eastbound lanes of I-70.
The suspect, Steven Brooks, 45, of St. Petersburg, Florida, went off the road and struck a concrete bridge pillar. Then, Brooks got out of the vehicle and fled on foot.
“Unbeknownst to them at the time, the operator of the vehicle was a fugitive that was wanted for first-degree murder in the state of Florida,” Pennsylvania State Police Capt. Joseph D. Ruggery said.
As two troopers closed in, Brooks allegedly pointed a gun at them and ignored several commands to drop the weapon. He was shot multiple times by troopers and was pronounced dead at the scene.
“In addition, the vehicle that they were stopping had been reported as stolen from Alabama and the operator was found to be in possession of a stolen pistol,” Capt. Ruggery said.
The gun in Brooks’ possession, .45-caliber Beretta loaded with 10 rounds, was reported stolen in Florida in 2014.
The troopers were not injured in the incident. Both are being placed on administrative leave as the incident is investigated.
“The need to use deadly force, when called upon to do so, is a heavy responsibility that every police officer bears when they swear their oath. It is not a responsibility we take joy in, nor is it a responsibility we take lightly. Nevertheless deadly force is at times necessary when it is the only reasonable means by which we are able to protect ourselves, or others against the imminent threat of bodily injury or death,” Capt. Ruggery said.
Watch the full state police news conference here:
According to police, Brooks was wanted in connection with the fatal shooting of his landlord, Caroline Morton-Hicks, on Feb. 12, in Florida.
Brooks allegedly fled to Alabama, where he was staying at the home of his estranged girlfriend.
Around 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, U.S. Marshals and SWAT converged on the home, but Brooks failed to surrender. He fled the home in an unknown vehicle, which prompted a high-speed chase. The chase ended when Brooks crashed the vehicle into a swamp and fled on foot.
Police set up a perimeter, but Brooks was able to get away again and stole a white Chevrolet pickup truck roughly eight miles from his last known location. He was still driving that pickup truck when troopers spotted him in Washington County, Pennsylvania.