Suspect killed, Pa. officer wounded in 18-hour standoff
Trooper Brian King was struck in the ballistic face shield by the suspect, who was killed when police returned fire
LATROBE, Pa. — An armed robbery suspect who had kept western Pennsylvania police at bay for about 18 hours was shot to death Friday by a tactical team.
Pennsylvania State Police identified the man inside the Latrobe house as Scott Murphy, 46, a robbery suspect accused of stealing several hundred pills from a pharmacy. That's about 40 miles east of Pittsburgh.
After Murphy refused numerous requests that he surrender, police tried to enter the building just before noon. Murphy opened fire, striking one officer's protective face shield. Other tactical team members returned fire and Murphy was later pronounced dead.
Capt. Stephen Eberle identified the injured officer as Trooper Brian King, a 15-year veteran and a former Penn State football player. He was reported to be in stable condition at UPMC Presbyterian hospital in Pittsburgh. Eberle said the shield may have saved the officer's life.
King was a safety for Penn State from 1992-95. He was part of the undefeated Penn State lineup in 1994-95 that defeated Oregon in the Rose Bowl, 38-20.
The incident began shortly after 6 p.m. Thursday when police acted on a tip that Murphy was involved with the robbery.
Police cordoned off the block where Murphy lived and even shut off electrical power to the area for several hours, urging some residents to evacuate and warning others to stay indoors as the standoff stretched into Friday afternoon.
Police believe Murphy robbed the Precision Care Pharmacy in Latrobe about 2:25 p.m. Thursday, taking prescription pills after brandishing a small handgun, according to Trooper Brian Thomas. Police were led to the home by a license plate number given by a witness to the robbery. Murphy doesn't own the car, but he reportedly had permission to use it about the time of the robbery, police said.
When police arrived at Murphy's house, other people came out but Murphy refused.
"The family members advised that he has several handguns and long rifles," Thomas said.
As the standoff stretched through Friday morning it became clear that little progress was being made. Negotiators had tried playing recorded pleas from Murphy's mother and girlfriend, but later police could be heard taunting him through bullhorns.
"Nothing but a loser in there," one negotiator yelled, while later Murphy was disparagingly called "a girl." Murphy had reportedly told police he would not be taken alive. At various points, police could be seen firing flash-bang grenades into the home, which are meant to disorient armed suspects.
At another point a camera mounted on a small, remote-controlled robot was sent into or near the house. Such devices are used to help police see into standoff situations without endangering officers.
Copyright 2013 Associated Press