Kearney
Kearney

A West Manheim Township grandfather who fired a handgun four times at a township officer last fall, spurring a 5-1/2-hour standoff, committed suicide inside his home, officials said.

And an officer who shot at the man moments before the standoff was justified in discharging his weapon, York County District Attorney Tom Kearney has determined.

Brian Anthony Costley, 53, shot himself twice in the torso after retreating inside his 2665 Baltimore Pike home on Nov. 18, Kearney noted in a 23-page report made public Wednesday.

York County Coroner Pam Gay has ruled the death a suicide.

Wanted man: Two West Manheim Township police officers went to Costley's home shortly before 1 p.m. to serve a warrant on him that was issued in Maryland, according to the report.

An armored vehicle was summoned to the West Manheim Twp. home of Brian Costley after he fired at police from inside his house on Nov. 18, 2013. (Submitted)
An armored vehicle was summoned to the West Manheim Twp. home of Brian Costley after he fired at police from inside his house on Nov. 18, 2013. (Submitted)
The warrant was related to Costley's pending drunken-driving case in Carroll County.

Kearney's report, compiled after state police finished an independent investigation of the incident, states:

Costley was exiting a shed on the property when he was approached by Patrolman First Class Edwin Schneider, who said he needed to speak with Costley.

But Costley waved his hand dismissively at the officer, told him to wait a minute and headed for the back door of his home.

Schneider — who has been a police officer for 28 years — repeatedly ordered Costley to stop, then tried to shoot him with a Taser. Only one prong attached itself to Costley's clothing, so a shock was not delivered.


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Costley went into his home, which was dark inside, and Schneider followed to arrest him. No one else was inside.

Four shots: That's when Costley fired at the officer four times with a .380 handgun from a distance of about 10 feet.

Schneider retreated back outside, firing eight rounds from his .40-caliber service pistol in Costley's direction.

After that, no contact was made with Costley and he remained inside his home.

An armored vehicle was summoned to the West Manheim Twp. home of Brian Costley after he fired a handgun at police on Nov. 18, 2013. (Photo by Bill Kalina)
An armored vehicle was summoned to the West Manheim Twp. home of Brian Costley after he fired a handgun at police on Nov. 18, 2013. (Photo by Bill Kalina)

Township Police Chief Tim Hippensteel obtained an arrest warrant for Costley on charges including attempted homicide, and the York County Quick Response Team, a SWAT-type unit, was summoned to the scene minutes after the gunfire.

On living-room floor: After trying unsuccessfully to get a response from Costley, the team eventually used cameras to go inside the home and determine Costley was lying motionless in the living room, a handgun near his body.

QRT members went inside Costley's home at 6:24 p.m. and found him dead in the first-floor living room.

Kearney said Schneider was justified in firing on Costley and noted in his report that it is "clear to any reasonable person that Mr. Costley presented an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury" at the time.

Ride-along: A 17-year-old boy who was doing a civilian ride-along with Schneider that day witnessed the early part of the confrontation from the front seat of the officer's cruiser, according to the report.

The teen could see and hear Schneider and Costley interacting in the yard, but was unable to see anything after Costley got close to his home. The report states that the youth did hear gunfire and hear Schneider announcing "Shots fired!"

Costley's ex-girlfriend, Stacy Thomas, and her adult son were visiting Costley when the officers arrived.

Thomas later told state police investigators that she and Costley broke up in August 2013 and that she was there, in part, to help him move his property out of the rental home because he was planning to move.

Alcohol issues: Thomas also said Costley abused alcohol and usually drank about 30 beers a day.

He "always thought everyone was out to get him," Thomas told investigators, according to the report.

She spent several days with Costley the week before the incident, during which time he told her on several occasions, "I'm not going to be here much longer."

Thomas reported he quit his Hanover-based construction job a month earlier and was selling off his vehicles and boats to raise money, the report states.

Her adult son told police Costley "was acting like something was wrong" even before police arrived.

Both Thomas and her son said Costley fired first, according to the report.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.