PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Attorney General Josh Shapiro talked exclusively with KDKA political editor Jon Delano about the officer-involved shooting in Ross Township.
On July 23, the police swarmed the Big Lots store at Northland Plaza on McKnight Road in the North Hills after an officer-involved shooting.
The officer shot was undercover with the Office of the Attorney General and participating in an undercover “buy-bust” operation in the parking lot.
Shapiro rushed to Allegheny General Hospital to be with his officer, who was shot twice
Shapiro had an update Thursday for KDKA.
“I went to visit him yesterday,” Shapiro said. “He and his wife and I spent a few minutes together in his living room. He looks well, beat up pretty good, sustained a number of gunshots.”
“His spirits are up,” Shapiro added. “He wants to get back to work, and I think he exemplifies the very best in law enforcement.”
But the location of the AG’s drug sting in a parking lot off McKnight Road has brought criticism from some, including Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala.
“The county detectives are going through that. We have some concerns,” said Zappala.
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“You have McKnight Road right there, too.”
Shapiro said he asked the Allegheny County Police to conduct an independent investigation of the police-involved shooting.
“We’ve stepped away from that,” Shapiro said. “And we’ll let them conclude their investigations and make their findings public whenever they’re ready.”
But speaking generally, Shapiro said the goal is clear.
“We do everything we can to keep people safe,” Shapiro said. “These drug deals happen all throughout our community. There are violent people all throughout our community.”
But the location of meet-ups with drug dealers is not always up to law enforcement.
“If it were up to me, every single time we met up with a drug dealer, we’d do it in the parking lot of a police station,” Shapiro said. “That would make our lives much easier.
“But these drug dealers, oftentimes, are able to dictate some of those terms. And we go through great pains to not only keep our agents safe and officers safe, but to keep the public safe.”
Again, Shapiro said he’s not discussing whether this particular sting in Ross Township should or should not have occurred in the Big Lots parking lot.
He will await the county police’s report before commenting.
But he wants the public to know that every consideration is given to public safety, which is why most stings occur without the public or officers getting hurt.