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Police fatally shot a possibly suicidal 72-year-old Conewago Township man Thursday after he fired a rifle at officers at close range, according to state police.
Clifton Thomson, of 475 Hykes Mill Road, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to York County Deputy Coroner Steve Cosey. An autopsy is set for Friday morning.
Cosey said the autopsy will determine how many times Thomson was shot.
Northern York County Regional police officers were dispatched to Thomson's home about 2 a.m. after he called a crisis hotline in Adams County and told them he had a gun and was thinking about hurting himself, according to Trooper Rob Hicks, a state police spokesman. The crisis center alerted York County 911.
Wife safe: Officers were able to get Thomson's wife safely out of the couple's home, Hicks said. She wasn't hurt, he said.
They then found Thomson inside, holding a .30-30 rifle in his hand, and tried to negotiate with him, according to Hicks.
But he refused to put down his rifle, fired a round at them and ran out the back door with it, police said.
An officer outside again ordered Thomson to put down the rifle, but he continued to move toward that officer, according to Hicks.
At that point, the officer shot Thomson with a rifle, Hicks said. The officer escaped injury; his name has not been released.
On leave: The officer has been placed on administrative leave, which is standard procedure in police-involved shootings, Northern Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel said.
He'll remain on leave "until such time as we feel it's appropriate for him to return to work," Bentzel said.
"Officers across the commonwealth are facing situations like this more and more frequently," the chief said. "It's a tough decision to make, to use deadly force, but one they (sometimes) have to make."
State police are handling the investigation at the request of the York County District Attorney's Office, Hicks said.
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