DA clears Northern Regional officer in fatal Manchester Twp. shooting

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch

A Northern York County Regional police officer who fatally shot an Adams County man last winter acted lawfully in killing the man, according to York County District Attorney Dave Sunday.

Sunday requested that state police conduct an independent investigation into the fatal shooting, which happened in the parking lot of a Manchester Township church. Sunday used the results of that probe to decide lethal use of force was justified by the officer in this case.

In a news release sent out Wednesday, Sept. 5, Sunday cleared the officer for shooting Gregory Lorn Stough.

York County District Attorney Dave Sunday on Sept. 5, 2018, issued a news release clearing a Northern York County Regional police office who fatally shot Gregory Lorn Stough in the parking lot of Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene on Jan. 6, 2018. Sunday said Stough had struck one officer with his car and was continuing with his vehicle assault when a second officer fired 14 times, killing Stough. 
(Dispatch file photo)

Also Wednesday, Northern Regional Police Chief Mark Bentzel identified the patrolman as Officer Jonathan Bailey.

Bailey has been with the department for six years. He was placed on administrative leave for a week during Northern Regional's internal investigation, then returned to regular duty, according to Bentzel.

Stough, 27, of Reading Township, was fatally shot in the parking lot of Stillmeadow Church of the Nazarene in Manchester Township in the early-morning hours of Jan. 6, 2018, according to officials.

He died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the York County Coroner's Office.

Sunday's policy is to allow individual police departments to release the names of officers involved in fatal shootings. Bentzel did that Wednesday morning.

The background: Stough was sleeping in his Pontiac Bonneville about 3:20 a.m. in the church's parking lot in the 400 block of Stillmeadow Lane when he caught the attention of Northern Regional officers, according to the DA's news release.

Gregory Lorn Stough, fatally shot by Northern Regional Police on Jan. 6, 2018, after accelerating his car into one of the officers, DA Dave Sunday said on Sept. 5, 2018, after reviewing the case.

The Pontiac's headlights were on, the release states.

Bailey approached the Pontiac, finding it suspicious that it was parked there, troopers have said.

He told Stough that the church doesn't allow people to park their vehicles in the lot overnight and suggested a different place where Stough could park, according to Sunday.

That's when a routine warrant check on Stough determined he had four active traffic warrants, officials have said.

Officers tried to arrest Stough, but he resisted.

"Greg Stough verbally refused the officer's commands to exit his vehicle and revved his engine instead," Sunday wrote in the news release. "Officer (Matthew) Cicale approached the driver's side of the vehicle and opened the door in an attempt to remove Stough from his vehicle. Ignoring the officer's commands, Stough then drove his vehicle in reverse, trapping Officer Cicale and forcing him backwards at a high rate of speed in the direction of another patrol car."

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Fired 14 shots: That's when Bailey pulled his service weapon and fired 14 rounds at Stough, according to Sunday.

"Pinned between Stough's vehicle and the driver's side door, Officer Cicale was within seconds of slamming into either another vehicle or falling and being ran over," Sunday wrote. "Believing Officer Cicale's life was in jeopardy, (Bailey) ... fired at Greg Stough, striking him multiple times in the head."

The state police investigation "clearly indicates" that deadly force was warranted by Bailey, Sunday's release states.

"Both officers checked on Stough in an attempt to provide medical aid, but observed a gunshot wound to his head and saw his chest was not rising," Sunday wrote, and a responding ambulance crew determined Stough had died.

Cicale sustained minor injuries and was taken to Memorial Hospital, police have said.

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