Pa. man shot while pointing gun at officers

By Jim Ritchie
Pittsburgh Tribune Review
Copyright 2006 Tribune Review Publishing Company
All Rights Reserved

A Beltzhoover man released from prison two months ago was shot by police early Sunday after pointing a .45-caliber handgun at two officers, Pittsburgh police said.

A city police sergeant shot Jamaar Blakey, 22, in the ear and chest after Blakey pointed the semiautomatic weapon at the officer and another sergeant chasing him through Knoxville, city police Cmdr. Thomas Stangrecki said.

"This was a deadly force situation where the officers were faced with deadly force -- namely a loaded firearm," Stangrecki said. "He was pointing it at them."

Blakey did not fire, police said.

Paramedics took Blakey to Mercy Hospital, Uptown, where he underwent surgery. He was in serious condition, according to Stangrecki.

Melissia Blakey, the shooting victim's aunt and formerly his legal guardian, said police had not told her details of the incident, likely because he is an adult and no longer under her supervision. She was unable to visit him in the hospital, which she believed was due to police guarding him during surgery.

"I would like to know how he's doing, and I'm trying to figure that out," she said.

Jamaar Blakey's last known address is his aunt's Vandalia Street home in Beltzhoover, police said.

The two police sergeants -- Anthony Viscomi and Kevin Wilson -- were responding to an unrelated incident when they came up behind Blakey about 3:30 a.m., according to a criminal complaint filed in Pittsburgh Magistrate Court. He was alone in a Pontiac Grand Am on Bausman Street, turning onto Ibis Way.

"The driver of that vehicle suddenly made a left turn onto Ibis Way without signaling and appeared to be driving at a high rate of speed, possibly in an attempt to elude the officers," Stangrecki said. "From the officers' perspective, it appeared he was trying to get away."

The officers pursued the car, turning on their police lights and siren. The Grand Am did not stop and drove through the intersection with Rochelle Street without slowing down, the complaint said.

The pursuit lasted only a few blocks, as Blakey lost control at Zara Street, running over a stop sign and hitting a residential fence, Stangrecki said. Blakey pulled back onto the road and continued along Ibis Way until hitting another fence near Michigan Way, the complaint said. The officers pulled up directly behind the car.

"The driver got out of the vehicle with a gun in his hand," Stangrecki said.

Blakey ran from the officers. Viscomi went after Blakey on foot and ordered him to drop the gun, while Wilson radioed in the car's license plate information before joining the chase, the complaint said.

Viscomi yelled, "Stop. Police. Stop. Police," the complaint said.

Blakey, still holding his weapon, turned to face Viscomi and ignored commands to desist, the complaint said.

Blakey pointed the gun at the officers, Stangrecki said.

Wilson was "in the direct line of fire of Blakey's firearm," according to the complaint.

"Sgt. Viscomi shot two rounds striking (Blakey) who then immediately fell face forward onto the ground," the complaint said.

Viscomi stayed with Blakey and tried to keep him conscious by talking with him while medics responded. Viscomi asked Blakey why he "did what he did," and Blakey responded that "someone had been shooting at him," the complaint said.

Blakey's weapon, which fell on the ground, was loaded and cocked, the complaint said.

Viscomi will be placed on administrative leave while the incident is reviewed, Stangrecki said.

On average, about 25 people a year pull guns on city police officers.

Charges against Blakey include two counts of aggravated assault, drunken driving, recklessly endangering another person, numerous traffic violations and firearms violations. Court records show Blakey has previous convictions for drug and weapons charges. As a felon, he is not permitted to carry firearms.

In November 2004, he was sentenced to two years in prison after he was found carrying a .40-caliber handgun and ammunition in violation of federal firearms laws. In January 2005, he was sentenced to nine months in prison after pleading guilty to drug charges, criminal conspiracy, taunting a police dog and illegally having a firearm. Those charges stemmed from incidents occurring before his 2004 sentence.

He had just been released from prison on Aug. 24, according to the federal Bureau of Prisons.

In April 2003, Blakey pleaded guilty to drug charges and was sentenced to up to three years' probation.

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