WILKINSBURG, Pa. (KDKA) — The name of the police officer who shot and killed Romir Talley last year has been released.
Talley was shot and killed by Wilkinsburg police on Dec. 22, 2019. On Wednesday, Wilkinsburg Council President Pamela Macklin identified the police officer as Robert Gowans. He was placed on administrative leave following the shooting, but it is not known if that is still the case.
A public speaker asked if the council knew the name of the police officer as it had not yet been publically released.
Macklin said she was told the officer’s name for the first time on Wednesday. The council then went into executive session to decide if they would publicize the name.
“We’re human beings, and no one wants to see another human being killed,” Macklin said. “And we want to know why. So as a mother myself and a grandmother myself, I would like to know that and I think the family should know that. I would urge District Attorney Zappala complete the investigation as soon as possible.”
On Wednesday, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala released a statement on the investigation, saying:
“Any loss of human life deserves the most methodical and complete review available. No matter the circumstances surrounding this death, the public deserves a thorough explanation.
I find it ironic that federal, state, county and local officials, especially Wilkinsburg officials, will not invest in transparent and objective criteria to assist in evaluating such a significant event.
Contrast this current review with last year’s event in Penn Hills when an individual tried to murder a police officer, an event captured with remarkable clarity by way of a body worn camera. The lack of this type of evidence has greatly complicated the process that my office has in place to deal with these types of investigations.”
The Allegheny County Police Department released an account of the shooting. They say the county’s 911 dispatchers received a call around 1 a.m. about a Black man wearing a black jacket and grey sweatpants who had “pulled a gun on the caller” at the intersection of Penn Avenue and Wood Street.
Police say three uniformed officers were dispatched in two marked vehicles. When they arrived, they say two officers talked to two people on the street before they saw a man matching the description of the gunman the 911 caller had given.
The 911 caller, who was still in contact with the operator, confirmed the man police found matched the caller’s description of the allegedly armed suspect.
The officers told the man to take his hands from his pockets, police say, while both officers got out of the car. Then, police say the man ran and ignored officers’ commands to stop.
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Police say the officers chased the suspect off Penn Avenue and through a vacant lot before turning onto Stoner Way. He then turned into a yard behind Center Street as one of the officers closed the distance.
That’s when police say the suspect fired one round at the officer, who returned fire, striking him seven times. Police say the chase came to an end after 43 seconds.
No body cameras were worn by Wilkinsburg police officers, and no dashboard cameras were used.