It started as a simple traffic stop, but police say what happened next justified them opening fire on a completely unarmed man. When pressed for details police would not say much at all. Neighborhood eyewitnesses, however, seem to indicate that the unarmed suspect had done nothing other pull into his driveway and leave the officer who pulled him over behind, as he walked to the rear of his house.
Pennsylvania State police say they will investigate the incident. What we know so far is that a Hummelstown police officer made a traffic stop around 4 in the afternoon on Monday, in a generally “quiet” borough, according to a State Police spokesman, Trooper Robert Hicks.
The man continued driving in spite of the red and blue lights flashing behind him. He pulled over at his home, which appears to have been close to where the officer tried to pull him over.
Once he parked the car he got out and went behind his house. The officer pursued him, and things quickly got ugly, but so far there is little explanation as to why.
“Behind the house an altercation between the officer and the subject occurred and shots were fired by the officer,” Hicks explained.
We asked whether the man had a weapon or not. Hicks responded, “all those details are still being worked out right now, I mean this just occurred. There is still a lot of interviewing and investigations have to go on before we can get into those types of specifics.”
That seems to be as clear of a “no” as the police are willing to give at this point.
An eye-witness told local media Penn Live that “you couldn’t help but hear the screeches of the tires, so you couldn’t help but run to look.”
Melanie Marburger, 51, added that, “the sound stopped me dead in my tracks and then I saw the man and the officer fly into the driveway, take off running and then the shots.”
Marburger did not see the man with any sort of weapon. He may have simply been heading behind his house to ditch some sort of contraband like marijuana. Right now we do not know, because there was no eye-witness who saw the man so much as struggle with the officer, and the police, for their part, are saying very little.
Joshua Kveragas, 16, said, “this is just very unusual for around here.” He also said that he did not see the man with any sort of weapon. Though the police say there was an “altercation,” Kveragas did not see any struggle.
When Officer Hicks was asked whether the man even attacked the officer at all – in any way – even though he seems to have had no weapon, the State Police representative would not even confirm that, saying that they “don’t have all of those details right now.”
That doesn’t look very good for the police.
What Hicks would say is that the man was a “white male subject,” estimated to be in his 50s.
“It’s going to take some time before all of this is figured out, probably weeks to months,” Hicks added.