News

Harrisburg police shooting that killed Deputy Marshal: What we know now

Written by Susan Martin/The York Daily Record | Jan 23, 2018 7:25 AM
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Law enforcement personnel stand near the scene of a shooting Thursday Jan. 18, 2018 in Harrisburg. (AP Photo/Marc Levy)

(Harrisburg) -- A deputy U.S. Marshal from York County was killed, and two police officers were wounded, while serving a warrant in Harrisburg on Thursday morning, Jan. 18. 

What happened?

Officers went to the area of South 18th and Mulberry streets to serve a warrant before 6:30 a.m. Jan. 18.

The officers went into the home, and the subject of the warrant - Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce - was handcuffed, then gunfire came from the second floor.

A man left the home, gunfire was exchanged, and he was killed. The marshal died, and two officers were injured. 

The Marshals Service task force was executing a warrant for the arrest of Pierce, who was wanted by Harrisburg police for terroristic threat offenses. Pierce is in custody. 

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Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher D. Hill, 45, of Conewago Township, was killed in the line of duty while serving a warrant Jan. 18 in Harrisburg. (Photo: Submitted)

Killed in the line of duty

The officer killed in the gunfire was Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher David Hill, 45, of Conewago Township, York County. Hill was shot in the chest.

Married, Hill was the father of two, and an Army veteran who served in Afghanistan from 1993-1996. 

State Sen. Mike Regan, who served as U.S. Marshal in Harrisburg until his retirement in 2011, said Hill was part of the U.S. Marshals Special Operations Group, an elite, nationwide SWAT-style tactical arm of the agency.

"At a moment's notice, he might be gone, anywhere in the country," handling prisoner transport or security for high-profile criminal cases, Regan said. "He was probably as tactically sound as anybody in the country."

Read more about Hill.

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Officer Jeffrey Cook (Photo courtesy: Harrisburg Bureau of Police)

Who else was shot?

  • York City Police Officer Kyle Pitts, assigned to a U.S. Marshals Task Force, was shot in the elbow, and his injuries are not considered to be life-threatening, according to York officials. He has been with city police for 10 years. Read more about Pitts.
  • A Harrisburg police officer, Jeffrey Cook, was struck in his body armor by a projectile, and was not seriously wounded. The Harrisburg officer "bravely returned fire and critically injured the gunman," according to a statement from Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse. Cook is a 27-year veteran of the Harrisburg Bureau of Police, according to a news release.
  • The gunman, Kevin Sturgis, 31, of Philadelphia, was shot by officers and died.
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This undated photo provided by the Dauphin County Judicial Center shows Shayla Pierce, arrested Thursday, Jan. 18, 2018. Law enforcement officers serving an arrest warrant were handcuffing Pierce on the first floor of a home Thursday when a man began firing from the second floor, killing Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher David Hill and injuring a police officer, authorities said, before the gunman was shot to death by police when he exited the home. (Dauphin County Judicial Center via AP)

The suspects and raid

  • Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce was wanted by Harrisburg Bureau of Police for terroristic threats. The misdemeanor charge was in connection with Pierce threatening to shoot another woman who asked Pierce to move her car from the middle of the road, Pennlive.com reported.
  • The gunman, identified as Kevin Sturgis, had two active warrants from Philadelphia, according to a news release from U.S. Attorney David Freed's office. One was for failure to appear for sentencing on a firearms charge. The other was for failure to appear for a probation hearing related to drug and stolen property charges. Sturgis also had been found guilty of rape when he was a juvenile, the news release states.
  • Officials said Thursday they did not know the relationship between Sturgis and Pierce. 
  • Freed, the U.S. Attorney, hinted that there could be more to the story about why an elite task force was sent to the home, according to Pennlive.com. Freed said more information would come out later about the reasons for the tactical raid.

This story comes to us through a partnership between WITF and The York Daily Record

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