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Stories we followed in 2018: Deputy U.S. marshal killed while serving warrant

Written by Brett Sholtis/WITF News | Dec 21, 2018 4:40 PM
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On Jan. 18, 2018, United States Deputy Marshal Christopher Hill died while in the line of duty.

Deputy Marshal Hill was part of task force of marshals and police serving a warrant on January 18th in Harrisburg's Allison Hill neighborhood for Shayla Lynette Pierce.

But once they were inside her home, Pierce's boyfriend, 31-year-old Kevin Sturgis, opened fire.

Sturgis's first shot hit York City police officer Kyle Pitts in the elbow, and the task force returned fire.

The 45-year-old Hill was killed in the firefight.

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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)

His death shocked the law enforcement community and led to an outpouring of support.       

The deputy marshal from York County, who was also an Army veteran, received a hero's memorial at the GIANT Center in Hershey. Law enforcement officers, first responders and military veterans came from across the country to honor him, including Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein. At the ceremony, friends remembered Hill not just as a deputy U.S. Marshal, but as a man with a great sense of humor and a relentlessly positive outlook on life.    

It wasn't until March, after the findings of an internal investigation were released, that added another layer of tragedy to the shooting: Hill was killed by friendly fire. During the firefight, a shot by another task force member went through a wall and struck Hill.

After that became public, U.S. Marshals' spokeswoman Michell Coghill said the fact remains, Sturgis caused the situation in January to escalate.

"A convicted felon opened fire on law enforcement officers, and ultimately led to Deputy hill's unfortunate and untimely death," she said. "Those are the facts."

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Hill was married and had children, and a fundraising effort helped to pay off the mortgage on their home, beginning with a $100,000 donation from the Stephen Siller Tunnel to Towers foundation.
People from across the U.S. and Canada chipped in an additional $225,000.

U.S. Marshals historian David Turk said Hill was the 271st U.S. Marshal to die on duty, and the first in Pennsylvania since 1851.

Turk said the loss struck close to home for those in the law enforcement community.

"It's a very close family at the service," he said. "So when we lose one of our own, especially here, it's often someone that we all know." 

Published in Harrisburg, News

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