DA clears West Manchester officer who killed theft suspect firing on him
A West Manchester Township police officer was justified in fatally shooting a shoplifting suspect who fired at him first in a Manchester Township motel room last summer, York County's district attorney has ruled.
West Manchester Township Manager Kelly Kelch said Police Chief John Snyder will release the officer's name on Tuesday, Nov. 27.
Logan James Montgomery, 29, was staying at the Motel 6 along Arsenal Road (Route 30) on Aug. 25 when he was killed after pulling a gun and firing at the West Manchester officer, according to a report made public Monday, Nov. 26, by York County District Attorney Dave Sunday.
The report also states that Montgomery had obtained a handgun that morning "for the stated purpose of committing armed robberies."
The officer was investigating a retail theft from Walmart at the West Manchester Town Center and identified Montgomery and his wife as suspects after running the license plate of the vehicle the alleged shoplifters used, according to the report.
The officer, accompanied by a Northern York County Regional police officer, went to the couple's room and took Montgomery into custody, the report states.
As the officer was going through Montgomery's pockets, "Montgomery pulled away aggressively and twisted his body to the left of the officer," Sunday's report states. "While the officer was attempting to regain control, Montgomery moved his hands to the right side of his body and discharged a firearm."
Feared for his life: The officer reported "that it sounded like the gunshot was right at his ear" and said he feared for his own life "and knew that Montgomery was shooting at him," according to the report.
He pushed Montgomery away to create distance between them, then drew his duty firearm and shot Montgomery, the report states.
"The events transpired so fast that the officer did not have time to give any verbal commands, and he related that he was in fear of serious bodily injury not only for himself, but for others in the motel," Sunday's report states.
Sunday said in his report that "witness statements and physical evidence support a clear conclusion that after being shot at, this officer's fear of death or serious bodily injury was certainly justified."
Sunday noted that after the shooting, state police were brought in to conduct an independent investigation, which is standard procedure in York County.
Montgomery — who police said previously lived in Columbia, Lancaster County — died of a single gunshot wound, the report states.
At the time, Montgomery's wife was pregnant, according to his obituary. There is no record of her being charged with shoplifting from Walmart that day.
Still on leave: Chief Snyder said the officer was placed on paid administrative leave after the fatal shooting and has remained on leave, awaiting the DA's determination about whether the shooting was justified.
He said that's normal procedure for his department.
"It takes time. Unfortunately, that's what has to happen," Snyder said. "Sometimes this process takes up to two years."
The officer is expected to return to regular active duty soon, according to the chief.
"I cleared the officer internally as well," Snyder said, meaning the officer's deadly use of force complied with the police department's internal policies and regulations.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @LizScolforoYD.