USA – Sunbury, Pennsylvania: Repeated Taser shots didn’t stop knife attack, police say (2014-07-09)

Published on July 9 2014 by admin

[[SUMMARY / COMMENTS: Tasered, then shot: Yet another example of how unreliable the taser can be. In an altercation in which 22-year-old Erick Trometter brandished a knife, a police officer first tasers (“repeated taser shots”) then shoots him. At press time, he was still in hospital.]]

The Daily Item, by Francis Scarcella

SUNBURY — Acting Sunbury Police Chief Brad Hare shot a 22-year-old Sunbury man Tuesday on Mile Post Road, at the northeast edge of the city, during a scuffle that included repeated Taser shots and the brandishing of a knife that police declined to display or describe.

Shot was Erick Trometter, 6 feet, weighing 270 pounds, who has a history of trouble with the law, including a recent assault against his 67-year-old grandmother that resulted in a freshly issued order of protection from abuse against him.

After firing his service weapon, Hare immediately called for help at 11 a.m. Valley police from local and state agencies swarmed to Mile Post Road, off Shikellamy Avenue, locking down the location for several hundred yards in all directions

Trometter was taken to Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, where his condition was undisclosed for hours following the altercation. As of deadline, sources close to the investigation said Trometter was alive and being treated at the hospital. Investigators at the scene did not know Trometter’s condition, and there were conflicting reports by various sources about Trometter’s condition throughout the day, but a Geisinger Medical Center nursing supervisor said Trometter was under going treatment and had no condition to report. Milton state trooper Mark Reasner confirmed that Sunbury police were searching for a male suspect around the time Hare approached Trometter and the altercation took place.

Reasner reported that a “Sunbury police officer” approached the suspect on Mile Post Road, and when the man brandished a knife, the officer used his Taser. The suspect didn’t stop with the attack, according to Reasner, who said the officer drew his weapon and shot the suspect. At no time did Reasner identify either Hare or Tometter as the individuals involved.

Reasner said the incident began Tuesday morning as a domestic dispute on Susquehanna Avenue, the home Trometter shared with his grandmother, and Sunbury police were called to investigate.

Police arrived but Trometter was not there, and when he was spotted on Shikellamy Avenue, Hare responded and that’s when the incident began.

During the investigation, police put the Greater Susquehanna Valley YMCA and Chief Shikellamy Elementary School on lockdown. Point Township police blocked off Shikellamy Avenue at North Fourth Street, while Northumberland police blocked off Mile Post Road behind Memorial Acres. The Sunbury pool remained open but several patrons began to wander down the road to see what was happening before police could shut down all access to the scene.

A state police forensics team from Williamsport arrived and, with other investigators, spent four hours at the scene, speaking with Sunbury officers and gathering information. Northumberland County Assistant District Attorney William Cole was at the scene.

It was not known if Hare had anyone riding with him at the time of the confrontation and it is not known why Hare stopped Trometter.

Trometter, a former Herndon resident, was being sought by police in connection with his grandmother’s assault. Tuesday morning a protection from abuse order was sought for Amanda Trometter, 67, of Susquehanna Avenue.

The PFA states Erick Trometter threatened to kill the woman daily, demanded money and spat upon the woman. The PFA also states Trometter punched the woman in her legs with closed fists and pulled her hair.

In the section of the PFA where it lists what weapons the defendant has, it says “knives.”

The PFA was granted by Northumberland County Judge Charles Saylor at 1:45 p.m. Tuesday for three years through July 8, 2017. A hearing on the PFA was set for July 16. Amanda Trometter also filed a PFA against her grandson in 2011.

Sunbury Mayor David Persing, who made Hare acting chief less than a month ago after a surprise demotion of former chief Steve Mazzeo, announced Sgt. Chris Blase has been appointed as the city’s acting police chief for the duration of the investigation.

Northumberland County District Attorney Ann Targonski issued a press release saying her office would not comment on the shooting until the investigation was complete.

This would mark the second shooting by a Sunbury police officer in just over a year. In June 2013, 17-year old Naheem Rheams was shot by a city officer when police say Rheams, who was wanted by the Northumberland County juvenile probation department, led them on a high-speed chase that ended at Chestnut and South Front streets. Rheams was shot in the abdomen by an officer who claimed Rheams was trying to run him down with his car.

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