House arrest for York man shot in leg after pointing BB gun at police

Liz Evans Scolforo
York Dispatch
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A man shot in the leg by York City Police when he pointed a gun at officers has been sentenced to house arrest after pleading guilty to two misdemeanor charges.

The weapon was only a BB gun, but it looked like a real handgun, according to police.

Donovain Randolf Lee Saulisbury, 33, of the York area, pleaded guilty Thursday morning in York County Court to simple assault and making terroristic threats, and in exchange his other charges were dropped, court records state.

He was sentenced to five years' probation, with the first six months on house arrest. Common Pleas Judge Harry M. Ness gave Saulisbury credit for the 30 days he's already spent in custody for this case, according to court records.

Ness also ordered Saulisbury to undergo a mental-health evaluation and comply with treatment recommendations, records state.

Saulisbury suffers from serious mental-health issues, defense attorney Korey Leslie confirmed.

"I wish the outcome would have been through a treatment court," Leslie said. "But I think this result is a fair reflection of what the outcome would have been with a successful completion of treatment court."

Because Saulisbury did not have an updated diagnosis, he was ineligible for treatment court, also known as wellness court, his attorney said.

Donovain Saulisbury

Wellness courts: York County has wellness courts for veterans, defendants with substance-abuse and mental-health issues, and for those arrested for driving while intoxicated. Such diversionary courts are designed to address the underlying causes behind why defendants offend and to save taxpayers money by keeping offenders out of prison and rehabilitating them so they don't commit more crimes.

Leslie said that in this case, Saulisbury received roughly the same court outcome he would have received had he been admitted to wellness court.

Saulisbury was shot in the leg about 3 p.m. Sept. 2, 2019, by a York City police officer in response to Saulisbury pointing a BB gun at officers, police have said.

His injury wasn't life-threatening, police said at the time.

State police investigated the officer-involved shooting at the request of the York County District Attorney's Office, which is typical for police-involved shootings in the county. The DA then determines whether the shooting was justified.

The DA's office has so far not released the results of its probe. District Attorney Dave Sunday was unavailable for comment Thursday, office spokesperson Kyle King said.

Lt. Daniel Lentz, spokesperson for York City Police, said the two officers who had been placed on administrative leave after the shooting as standard procedure have been back on active duty for more than a year.

"They could not have come back to work (patrol) if they weren't cleared," he said, adding that the completed state police report recommended no charges and that an internal city review found the officers violated no city policies.

The background: Officers were called to the Greyhound bus station at 53 E. North St. in York City after Saulisbury threatened the station's co-owner, police have said.

The co-owner told Saulisbury he wasn't allowed to be there, which prompted Saulisbury to say, "F— you, I'm gonna f—ing kill you!" according to court documents.

The co-owner called 911 after Saulisbury continued to yell as the man tried to reason with him, police said.

Saulisbury started walking away when officers arrived, but then turned around and pointed a BB gun at them that looked similar to a semi-automatic handgun, police have said.

One officer fired at the fleeing Saulisbury, court documents state, and he was struck in the leg as he ran.

He was treated at York Hospital, police have said.

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