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State Police cleared in death of York County man who said he killed Satan

Written by Ted Csech, York Daily Record | Aug 1, 2017 9:57 AM

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A man who shot at state police troopers in Hopewell Township early April 24 died from his injuries after police returned fire, officials said. Photo by Paul Kuehnel, York Daily Record.

(York) -- Deadly force used by State Police in the shooting death of a 79-year-old Hopewell Township man on April 24 was "reasonable under the circumstances," according to a report released Tuesday by York County DA Tom Kearney.

When Pennsylvania State Police troopers responded to Robert Becker's home in the 200 block of Hollow Road after he called York County 911, he fired at them with a handgun. The troopers returned fire, killing Becker, according to the report.

Troopers had responded to Becker's home twice in the past for mental health issues, Trooper Brett Miller said the day of the incident.

Kearney stated in his report that troopers "were in imminent danger of immediate serious bodily injury or death at the time they utilized deadly force in the discharge of their service weapons ... Accordingly, their use of deadly force in response to Mr. Becker's conduct was justified and no criminal action would lie."

Tuesday's report gives more details about Becker's call to 911 prior to police's arrival, beginning with Becker telling dispatchers he wanted to report a homicide that just occurred.

"Becker advised that he shot and killed Satan and the guns were at his feet," according to the report. "Becker further related that he may have killed his neighbor ... when the bullet went through his kitchen wall."

When police arrived at Becker's home, he walked onto his front porch with a loaded 9-mm handgun.

A trooper tried to deescalate the situation, while attempting to have Becker drop his gun. Instead, Becker pointed the gun at the trooper three times during the conversation, according to the report.

"Becker stated that, 'this is going to end with suicide by cop', and made other statements that this is going to end one way or another," the report states.

He continued to ignore commands to drop his gun and then fired at the trooper. Several troopers returned fire, striking Becker several times. When the troopers approached Becker on the porch, he fired again at them.

"The Trooper's returned fire again at Becker to stop his action," according to the report. "EMS was then notified and Becker was pronounced deceased on the porch."

Check back later for more information.

This article is part of a content-sharing partnership between the York Daily Record and WITF.

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