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Deputy who fired gun during Garfield standoff tested positive for cocaine, sheriff says

  • Julia Zenkevich/WESA
Allegheny County Sheriff vehicle

 Kiley Koscinski / 90.5 WESA

Allegheny County Sheriff vehicle

An Allegheny County sheriff’s deputy who fired his weapon during a fatal standoff in Garfield on Aug. 23 tested positive for cocaine shortly after, according to County Sheriff Kevin Kraus.

At a Tuesday press conference, Kraus said he could not comment on whether or not the deputy, a seven-year veteran of the office, was under the influence of cocaine during the standoff. Kraus declined to name the man but did say he was fired and has not been charged with a crime.

“We have a strict zero tolerance, drug-free workplace policy,” Kraus said. “It’s a very unfortunate situation. It’s not easy to report, but I just felt it was right to the communities throughout the region and to the residents and visitors of Allegheny County that I announce this news today.”

The occupant of the house involved in the standoff, William Hardison, was later shot and killed by law enforcement.

Neighbors said Hardison was the brother of the late Joseph Hardison, who purchased the home in 1998. Joseph Hardison died in 2021. In February 2023, the home was purchased by 907 East Street LLC from Joseph’s estate and William Hardison’s father, said an attorney for the company. Neighbors allege that Hardison broke into the property in March and had been “squatting” ever since.

Sheriff’s deputies were attempting to remove Hardison from the home when he began shooting.

Dozens of officers from multiple agencies were involved in the attempted ejection, and thousands of rounds were fired between Hardison and law enforcement.

The deputy was 1 of 13 first responders from the sheriff’s office who were drug tested at a Concentra medical facility the day of the standoff in accordance with the agency’s policy, Kraus said.

Kraus added that he has no reason to believe the deputy in question fired the shot that killed Hardison.

Kraus said he doesn’t believe the situation will impact the ongoing Pennsylvania State Police investigation into the Garfield standoff.

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