PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) — Koby Francis, the suspect accused of shooting McKeesport Police Officer Jerry Athans, is awaiting extradition following his capture in West Virginia on Tuesday.
The 22-year-old was on the run for nine days.READ MORE: COVID-19 In Pennsylvania: State Reports 3,899 New Cases, 64 Additional Deaths
Allegheny County Police held a news conference Wednesday morning to update the case following Francis’ arrest.
They say federal marshals arrested Francis shortly after 6 p.m. Tuesday at the Oakmound Apartments complex in Clarksburg, West Virginia. Allegheny County Police say they received a phone tip around 10 a.m. Tuesday of Francis’ possible whereabouts.
They contacted the U.S. Marshals Service due to the information that he had possibly fled to another state. Federal marshals then started surveillance on the apartment building, and police secured a search warrant.
KDKA’s Royce Jones has been told no one else was inside, no weapons were found upon their search and that Francis was taken into custody without incident.
“We were able to successfully enter the apartment. He was actually asleep when we came in and arrested him,” said Chief Deputy Terry Moore, U.S. Marshals Service, Northern District of W.Va.
Allegheny County Police representatives were present when Francis was taken into custody.
Police believe he caught a ride to the apartment complex and has been hiding there since Dec. 21.
See KDKA’s Lindsay Ward’s report:
NEW— @AlleghenyCoPD tell me Koby Francis will not have his extradition hearing until after the new year. A news conference is about to begin that will give us more details on his arrest in West Virginia. @KDKA pic.twitter.com/ZU6ZluDPXH
— Lindsay Ward (@LindsayWardTV) December 30, 2020
Francis faces charges of criminal attempt homicide, escape, flight to avoid apprehension, aggravated assault and firearms violations.
It wasn’t immediately clear whether Francis has a lawyer to comment on his behalf.
- RELATED STORY: Koby Francis, Accused Suspect In Shooting Of McKeesport Police Officer, Taken Into Custody In West Virginia
Officer Athans has been released from the hospital since the shooting. He was wounded three times on Dec. 20 after arriving with Francis at the McKeesport Police Station.
Officer Athans initially suffered a gunshot wound to the neck. He then circled around to the front of his police vehicle for cover. The criminal complaint says “Francis continued firing at Officer Athans, striking him two more times in his left shoulder.” Police say Officer Athans returned fire as Francis ran away.
Allegheny County Police say it was “an error” that Francis still had a gun on him after he was arrested. They also want to clarify that Francis was handcuffed but was able to move his hands from the back of his body to the front, pull his gun out and shoot Officer Athans.
They also say it’s rare that someone is able to do that, but it can happen.
BREAKING— @AlleghenyCoPD call it an “error” when Koby Francis still had a gun on him and was able to bend his body so that his arms were in front, cuffed, and shoot McKeesport Police Officer Jerry Athans. More LIVE at noon on @KDKA pic.twitter.com/n6G4KYSRYs
— Lindsay Ward (@LindsayWardTV) December 30, 2020
Francis was initially taken into custody for violating a Protection from Abuse Order served to him that same day, police said.
Inside Officer Athans’ cruiser, police say Francis was combative and tried to kick out a window. The shots rang out as Officer Athans tried to take Francis into the station.
Allegheny County Police Lt. Venerando Costa says both Officer Athans and the person who filed the PFA against Francis were both relieved to learn of his apprehension.
Throughout the whole search, police say they remained in contact with the victim.
“Could’ve turned out a lot worse, and I believe the McKeesport Police officer did respond quickly initially and apprehended him over in Crawford Village. So we contacted her and she was relieved to find out he was apprehended,” said Lt. Costa.
Numerous agencies have been involved in the investigation including Pennsylvania and West Virginia State Police.
While Francis faces criminal attempt homicide, escape and other charges related to the incident, those who know his family are relieved the suspect will see his day in court.
Fawn Walker-Montgomery, Executive Director, Take Action Mon Valley told KDKA, “The relief, I can’t put words to it. But not just relief that Koby is alive. But also that the officer survived.”
Francis will spend the new year behind bars inside the North Central Regional Jail in Dodridge County West Virginia awaiting his extradition hearing.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Pittsburgh: Allegheny County Reports 219 New Cases, 1 Additional Death
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