OAK ORCHARD, Del. — A man was shot to death by two rookie state troopers after firing at them with a pellet gun, authorities said Thursday.
Gary L. Bliss, 58, of Millsboro, was killed after two officers responded to a report of an intoxicated and suicidal individual who had cut his wrists.
When they arrived at Bliss' home, troopers learned that Bliss had entered a shed at the rear of the property. Authorities said that as the troopers approached the shed, Bliss came out yelling at them and brandishing a handgun.
Bliss ignored commands to drop his weapon and began firing at the troopers while advancing on one of them, police said. They fired eight rounds in self defense, authorities said. The pellet gun resembled a semiautomatic handgun and had a distinctive sound, according to state police spokesman Sgt. Joshua Bushweller.
"When you have a gun pointed at you, that's a deadly threat," he added.
Bushweller said the two troopers, who were hired last year and graduated from the police academy in February, fired eight rounds. The two troopers, whose names were not released, have been placed on administrative duty pending a review of the shooting.
Bliss' wife, who was in the home at the time, was not injured.
Authorities said state troopers had been called to the Bliss home in 2002 in response to an armed man attempting to commit suicide. That incident resulted in Bliss being committed to a psychiatric facility in Newark, police said.
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