Attorney: Midstate officer acted in self-defense in shooting

Written by The Associated Press | Mar 25, 2015 5:18 AM
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Photo by Marie Cusick, WITF

(Harrisburg) -- The lawyer for a police officer in Dauphin County charged with homicide in the shooting death of an unarmed motorist says she acted in self-defense.

Attorney Brian Perry says the charges against his client, Hummelstown police officer Lisa Mearkle, are an injustice.

He says Mearkle 'felt like she had to do what she did'' when she shot 59-year-old David Kassick twice in the back as he was lying facedown in South Hanover Township.

Mearkle told state police investigators she fired because he wouldn't show his hands and she thought he was reaching into his jacket for a gun.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico says Kassic was unarmed and did not brandish any object that could have been viewed as a weapon.

Police say Kassick sped away after Mearkle tried to pull him over for an expired inspection sticker in February.

Court records say Mearkle disabled Kassick with a stun gun before shooting him.

When Mearkle deployed her Taser, the device began recording audio and video of the incident, which state  police say assisted their investigation.

Mearkle is a 15-year veteran of the force.

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