Trial ahead for man shot by York City Police

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
  • Terry Diffenderfer is facing trial after waiving his right to a preliminary hearing Wednesday.

A York Haven man shot by York City Police is now facing trial for allegedly stealing an idling SUV and using it to ram pursuing police cruisers.

Terry Eugene Diffenderfer on Wednesday waived his right to a preliminary hearing before District Judge Joel Toluba, who then set Diffenderfer's formal court arraignment for Aug. 11, according to court records.

Terry Diffenderfer

Diffenderfer, 30, of 32 N. Front St., remains in York County Prison on $40,000 bail, charged with four counts of aggravated assault, being a convicted felon in illegal firearm possession, fleeing or attempting to elude police and two counts each of theft and criminal mischief. All the charges are felonies.

He also is charged with the following misdemeanors: three counts of reckless endangerment, two counts of simple assault, driving under the influence of drugs and possession of drug paraphernalia. He's been cited with the summary offenses of reckless driving, causing an accident involving property damage and trespass by motor vehicle.

The officer who shot Diffenderfer suffered a concussion when Diffenderfer crashed the stolen SUV into a York City police cruiser, York City Police Chief Wes Kahley has said.

Shotgun left in SUV: According to charging documents, a turkey hunter left his white Mercury Mountaineer idling in the parking lot of the Royal Farms convenience store at the corner of Route 30 and Roosevelt Avenue shortly before 4:30 a.m. April 29. Police say he left a Mossberg 930 semi-automatic shotgun inside the SUV.

Deputy cleared in fatal shooting

The hunter told officers he went inside the store for a few minutes, and when he came out he saw his SUV leaving the lot with a man driving and a woman in the passenger seat, police said. The man used his "Find My iPhone" app to track his vehicle, according to police.

Officers caught up to the SUV on Roosevelt Avenue and tried to stop it, but Diffenderfer accelerated and fled, making his way to Newberry Street, then onto West Princess Street, where the SUV sheared off a utility pole and crashed into a large flowerpot, documents state.

State police said Terry Diffenderfer stole this SUV on Saturday, April 29, 2017, and later rammed York City police cruisers that had him surrounded.
(Photo courtesy of Southern PA Incident Network)

Diffenderfer continued to flee until he drove into a parking lot in the 200 block of West Market Street, where police closed off all avenues of escape, according to state police.

At that point, the cruiser that had been rammed pulled behind the SUV and the officer started to get out of his vehicle, which is when Diffenderfer reversed and crashed into it a second time, pushing the cruiser backward and causing its door to close on the officer, according to charging documents.

The officer fired five rounds from his service pistol at Diffenderfer as the man continued to back up toward the officer, state police said.

Crashed through fence: At that point the SUV abruptly turned, went through a large wooden fence and stopped against a concrete abutment along the Codorus Creek, documents state. Officers were able to arrest Diffenderfer and take into custody the woman in the passenger seat, identified in court documents as Ashley Brown, no age or address provided.

Brown told officers she and Diffenderfer did heroin together before he stole the SUV, charging documents state.

Terry Diffenderfer

Brown also identified a backpack found in the SUV as belonging to Diffenderfer, according to police. Inside the bag was drug paraphernalia, including several syringes, smoking pipes, a spoon and rolling papers, police said.

PSP probe: Because a York City officer shot Diffenderfer, state police conducted an independent investigation at the behest of York City Police and the York County District Attorney's Office.

Once the investigation is complete, findings will be turned over to District Attorney Tom Kearney, who will then decide whether the officer-involved shooting was justified, state police have said.

— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.