PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala says police body cams played a crucial role in the investigation of an officer-involved shooting last month in Penn Hills.
Zappala held a news conference Thursday morning to where he discussed the case and released some of the footage.
WATCH: DA Zappala News Conference —
“The body cam legislation passed in 2017. I’m proud to say we had a lot to do with that,” said Zappala. “As I indicated previously, we’re talking about transparency. I don’t have to explain what happened, you guys can see it and the public can see it, and quite frankly, that’s what a jury wants to do.”
Zappala said the body camera video clears the officer from any wrongdoing in the shooting and killing of Onaje Dickinson.
Police say it all began when a man was shot and killed at the Sharon Court apartment complex on July 14. The suspects are identified as 15-year-old Myzle Ford and 20-year-old Dickinson.
Police say they lured the victim, 30-year-old Joshua Antonio Makhanda-Lopez of Mt. Oliver, on the pretext of a drug deal, but with the intent of robbing him.
After the murder, police tracked Ford and Dickinson to a house on Frankstown Road.
Ford surrendered, but Dickinson refused to come out of the home. Police went inside and found him hiding in a basement storage room.
Penn Hills officer Jared Rothert approached the door and tripped over debris, which probably saved his life, as three shots were fired by Dickinson.
“If he doesn’t trip and lose elevation, if he’s still stationary, he’s probably dead,” Zappala said.
The officers returned fire and Dickinson was fatally wounded.
Police recovered two guns at the scene, including the revolver that was fired at Officer Rothert, who is recovering from a broken knee and sprained ankle suffered in the shootout.
Both guns were stolen.
Ford was arrested and charged as an adult on multiple charges, including homicide.