District Attorney Rules Trooper-Involved Shooting As Justified
After a three-week long investigation, Erie County District Attorney Jack Daneri has ruled a fatal trooper-involved shooting last month, as justified.
The deadly shooting happened back on December 19th, 2018, in the parking lot of the Dollar General in Union City.
Investigators say troopers shot and killed Keith Hawley, 27, during an undercover sting operation.
Authorities say the undercover troopers were trying to buy a suspected stolen chainsaw that Hawley was selling on-line, when he pulled out a handgun and tried to rob them instead.
Daneri said Friday morning, as a trooper struggled for the gun inside the van, the other trooper yelled commands to Hawley, announced they were Pennsylvania State police troopers and ordered him to drop the gun, Daneri says Hawley did not, and the struggled continued. The other trooper shot Hawley three times, in his torso.
Friday morning, Daneri said the internal investigation into the actions of the troopers included: the gathering of witnesses statements, forensics from the crime scene, which was an undercover VICE van, as well as undercover communications, including cell phones, between the individuals inside the van and the others troopers outside of the van, who were also involved in undercover operation. Also crucial to their internal investigation, the interviews of the five troopers involved, and the statement from the co-conspirator, Robert Hull, who waived his preliminary hearing Friday morning.
Daneri said the two troopers involved were veterans, with a combined 42 years of law enforcement experience, and 14 years combined as undercover troopers.
The two troopers who were in the van with Hawley were placed on administrative leave as the district attorney’s and internal State Police investigation was conducted.
Daneri said the investigation into the incident is still ongoing, but given the circumstances of the crime, criminal charges against the troopers are not warranted.