SOUTH UNION TOWNSHIP (KDKA) – A suspect who was shot by police allegedly ignored multiple commands to drop his weapon and told troopers to shoot him.
According to police, the incident happened along Hopwood Fairchance Road in South Union Township, Fayette County around 4 p.m. on Sunday.
Police were initially called to the area for a report of a suspicious person.
Two troopers were dispatched in separate vehicles. When they arrived, they observed a black man in black clothing holding a large blade. It was described as being about 5-to-6 inches long and was possibly a saw blade.
The troopers surrounded the man with their vehicles in order to prevent him from fleeing. The suspect, 29-year-old Kenneth Shaffer Jr., began to advance toward a trooper as they got out of their vehicle.
The trooper drew his weapon and ordered Shaffer to drop the weapon at least five times. Shaffer ignored the commands and said, “shoot me” at least four times. In an attempt to maintain a safe distance from Shaffer, the trooper retreated across the street.
“The trooper drew his pistol at that time and began to give clear, repeated verbal commands ordering Mr. Shaffer to stop. Mr. Shaffer disregarded those commands and continued to advance on the trooper’s position. To each of those verbal commands, Mr Shaffer responded by saying, ‘Shoot me,’” Pennsylvania State Police Cpt. Joseph Ruggery said.
However, Shaffer continued to advance and the trooper backed up against a guardrail.
At that time, the trooper fired one round, which struck Shaffer in the upper chest area. Shaffer fell to the ground and dropped the weapon. The trooper ordered Shaffer not to move and he complied. Another trooper placed Shaffer in handcuffs and EMS was called.
Shaffer was flown to Ruby Memorial Hospital to be treated for his injuries, which are not believed to be life-threatening.
Shaffer was last listed in critical, but stable condition and remains under guard at the hospital.
Shaffer is facing a list of charges including recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest, aggravated assault and simple assault.
The trooper has been placed on administrative duty pending the outcome of the investigation. The district attorney is reviewing the incident to determine if the shooting was justified.
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact State Police Troop B at (724)-439-7111.
Shaffer is a Megan’s Law violator stemming from a 2008 conviction for sexual assault of a minor.
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