SCHELLSBURG, Pa. (AP) — Prosecutors in Pennsylvania have announced charges against two people in connection with gunfire between a group of marchers on their way to Washington, D.C., from Milwaukee and a rural Pennsylvania resident last summer.
Bedford County District Attorney Lesley Childers-Potts said Friday that 51-year-old Terry Myers of Schellsburg and 37-year-old Orsino Thurman of Milwaukee, Wisconsin faced charges including aggravated assault and reckless endangering.READ MORE: Pittsburgh Woman Helps Neighbors Without Power Following Weekend Storms
Childers-Potts said the charges were “based upon the facts of the case, not emotion or popular opinion,” adding that she hadn’t been willing “to make a charging decision based upon incomplete information.”
“I personally reviewed every piece of evidence, including over 700 pages of written reports prepared by the Pennsylvania State Police,” said DA Childers-Potts. “Where someone lives or who they know is not relevant in our prosecutions. Seeking truth and justice and doing the right thing for the right reason are important in every case.”
The group of about 20 had set out early in August 2020 on a 745-mile march from Milwaukee to the nation’s capital to mark the anniversary of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I Have a Dream Speech.” Late on Aug. 24, 2020, the group stopped alongside rural Route 30 in Bedford County near the towing garage and home of Myers’ father, who saw them outside and yelled at them to leave, although police said there was no indication that they heard him.
A state police affidavit released Friday said Terry Myers arrived and fired twice in the air with a shotgun, then scanned the crowd with his gun and fired after seeing two flashes, hitting Thurman in the face, The (Johnstown) Tribune-Democrat reported. Two pistol shots then rang out and Myers responded with another blast, police said, citing footage they had reviewed, the paper said.READ MORE: Pittsburgh City Employees Set To Return To The Office After More Than A Year
Thurman was recorded moments later saying Myers “shot me with the buckshot. I hit him, too,” the report said. Police said at the time that one demonstrator was struck by bird shot and was treated at a hospital and then released.
Myers was charged with aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief and harassment, prosecutors said. Thurman was charged with a firearms crime as well as aggravated and simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, criminal mischief and criminal trespassing.
Myers’ attorney, Matthew Zatko, told WJAC-TV that his client fired in self-defense.
“If you look at the affidavit especially the last page, you will see that in the state police investigation, they indicate that two shots were fired at Mr. Myers before he returned the shots, striking the individual who fired the gun,” Zatko said. “Those are the facts and they are not in dispute.”
Court documents didn’t list an attorney for Thurman and numbers listed in his name weren’t in service Saturday.MORE NEWS: Following A Mild Winter, The Threat Of Ticks Has Increased This Summer
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