Deputy marshal, a York County resident, killed in Harrisburg shooting

Christopher Dornblaser

A deputy marshal from York County was killed and a York City Police officer was wounded when they were shot while serving a warrant in Harrisburg, according to officials.

U.S. Attorney David Freed identified Christopher David Hill, 45, as the deputy marshal who was shot and killed while serving the warrant about 6:30 a.m. Thursday, Jan. 18, in the 1800 block of Mulberry Street. The York County delegation to the state House said in a joint statement Thursday afternoon that Hill lived in York County with his wife and two children.

Officer Kyle Pitts, a member of the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force, was identified as the York City Police officer who was shot. York City interim Police Chief Troy Bankert said Pitts, a 10-year veteran of the department, was hit once in his right elbow.

Shooting: Freed said during a news conference in Harrisburg on Thursday that the two were serving a warrant at the home for a woman wanted on terroristic threats charges. While she was being taken into custody at her home, Freed said, a man opened fire from the second floor of the home. Hill and Pitts were hit, he said.

The man was later identified by Freed's office as 31-year-old Kevin Sturgis, of Philadelphia.

Sturgis was shot and killed by members of the task force as he was returning gunfire while going through the front door of the home, Freed said. He confirmed at least one handgun was used by Sturgis during the incident.

Hill was taken to Harrisburg Hospital, where he died. He worked for the U.S. Marshals Service for 11 years.

"You probably will not find a better tactical operator in the state of Pennsylvania," U.S. Marshal Martin Pane said of Hill on Thursday.

Pitts was taken to Hershey Medical Center, where he was being treated for injuries that were not life-threatening, York City Police confirmed Thursday morning.

"Officer Pitts is currently under operation and is expected to survive," Pane said.

According to a news release from the U.S. Marshals Service, the task force members were executing an arrest warrant for Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce, 30, who was wanted by Harrisburg Police in a terroristic threats case.

She remains in Dauphin County Prison in lieu of $200,000 bail. Officials could not yet say what her relation to Sturgis is.

Freed said multiple children, between the ages of 9 and 13, were inside the home at the time of the incident. He said they are likely in the custody of family members.

Pane said the task force had at least seven officers, all wearing body armor, serving the warrant. Early reports stated that a Harrisburg Police officer was shot during the incident, but Freed said that preliminary investigation shows the officer was struck but not injured. The officer's armor prevented injury, he said.

Daupin County District Attorney Fran Chardo said the DA's office has been asked to look into the incident to determine if deadly force was necessary. Chardo said preliminarily that it seemed that deadly force was necessary, since it looks as though Sturgis fired at the officers first.

Shooter: At the time of the shooting, Sturgis was wanted on two active warrants from Philadelphia, one for failure to appear for a sentencing of a being a felon in illegal firearm possession and one for failing to appear for a probation violation hearing, according to Freed's office.

The probation hearing was based on original charges of receiving stolen property, unlawful possession of a controlled substance and unauthorized use of an automobile, the U.S. Attorney's Office said.

As a juvenile, he was adjudicated delinquent of rape, Freed's office said. In Pennsylvania that is equivalent to a conviction in adult court.

Hill:  Hill joined the U.S. Marshals Service in 2006 in Washington, D.C., and transferred to Harrisburg in 2009, according to Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse's office.

He was an Army veteran who served from 1993 to 1996, according to Papenfuse's office.

Pane said Hill was a firearms instructor and a member of the U.S. Marshals special operations group, which is a highly trained unit.  He called him the "cream of the crop."

"He will be missed, and words cannot say how much," Pane said.

Gov. Tom Wolf ordered the commonwealth flag to fly at half-staff to honor Hill, his office said in a news release Thursday.

Bankert said Hill worked closely with the York City Police Department and its officers.

"The loss of him is felt upon the police department quite a bit," he said.

Freed said Hill died a hero Thursday and said there will be a thorough investigation into the incident.

"We will provide answers to Deputy Marshal Hill's family," Freed said.

According to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund, Hill is the first officer fatality from a federal agency in 2018.

Pitts: Bankert said during a news conference Thursday that Pitts has been a member of the task force for two years.

“I tell you he loves it, he just absolutely loves it," Bankert said.

Pitts has three daughters, according to the chief, who said he is well-liked within the department.

"I don't know anybody who doesn't like Kyle Pitts," he said.

Pitts was previously a patrolmen and field training officer with the department, and he has received multiple awards in his time there.

“He’s one of the best officers we’ve had here,” Bankert said.

He did not have a condition for Pitts but said he was undergoing surgery for his non-life-threatening wound Thursday at Hershey Medical Center.

 —Reach Christopher Dornblaser at or on Twitter at @YDDornblaser. 

— Dispatch staff writer Liz Evans Scolforo contributed to this report.