Metro Beat: DA says man killed by Pittsburgh officer shot 6 times

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WILKINSBURG, Pa. (AP) – Police dash cam video helps explain how and why a Pittsburgh police officer shot a suspect six times, including twice in the back of his shoulder, during a fatal encounter last week, the district attorney said.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. isn’t releasing the video and audio, but has been reviewing it along with federal prosecutors to determine whether Officer William Kertis was justified in shooting the suspect, 29-year-old Adrian Williams, on April 21.

Police have said officers tried to pull over a vehicle for a traffic violation before it sped off into neighboring Wilkinsburg. Police have claimed, and Zappala confirmed Wednesday, that Williams had a gun when Kertis shot him, but dropped it during a struggle.

In addition to the shots that hit Williams in the rear of his shoulder, he was shot just above the buttocks, through his right arm, and under his right and left arms, Zappala said.

“There is video that explains how these types of shots would appear on his body,” Zappala said. “He’s not running away.”

The district attorney routinely reviews police shootings, and Kertis has been placed on administrative duty pending an internal investigation, which is also standard procedure after a police shooting.

This is the second shooting by Kertis, who was honored by the city for a gunbattle with another suspect, who is awaiting trial. During that shooting in March 2013, Kertis was wounded in both legs and broke both his wrists while chasing and trading gunfire with the suspect.

Williams had a felony record and couldn’t legally possess a gun. Zappala said the gun Williams used that night was registered to someone else, but hadn’t been reported stolen.

Williams was awaiting trial on drug charges, had a 2007 drug conviction, and had been sentenced to five years of probation in March after pleading guilty to fleeing or eluding police, reckless endangerment, possession of marijuana and traffic citations from another stop months before.

 

Pittsburgh’s Chatham to vote on admitting males

PITTSBURGH (AP) – The trustees of a western Pennsylvania university that only admits women to its undergraduate college was set to vote on whether to include males for the first time in its 145-year-old history.

Opponents of the move have unsuccessfully asked Chatham University’s trustees to delay the vote, which was scheduled for Thursday afternoon.

The undergraduate college in Pittsburgh’s Shadyside neighborhood was founded as the Pennsylvania Female College in 1869. Officials say the freshman class has shrunk nearly 50 percent since 2008, and a college that once had more than 700 students could have fewer than 320 within five years unless the school goes co-ed.

The trustees will also vote on whether to reorganize the university’s academic units and establish the Chatham University Women’s Institute, which would combine entrepreneurship and political programs with new women’s health and gender studies programs.

Council vote set on park drilling near Pittsburgh

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Allegheny County Council’s Parks Committee has voted 4-1 to have the full council vote next week on a proposal to drill for natural gas under a Pittsburgh-area park.

Wednesday’s vote means the 15-member will vote next Tuesday on a proposal to Range Resources and Huntley & Huntley to drill beneath 1,180-acre Deer Lakes Park from well sites on neighboring private properties.

The proposal includes a $4.7 million bonus for the county, a $3 million donation to a park improvement fund and 18 percent royalties that county officials estimate would generate $3 million.

Range Resources said the wells could produce natural gas for 30 to 40 years.

Opponents have expressed concern about possible groundwater pollution from hydraulic fracturing, or the possibility of well explosions near the park.

Express Scripts buyout targets 55 in Pennsylvania

NORTH VERSAILLES, Pa. (AP) – Express Scripts plans to cut 55 of 140 pharmacists who work at a facility near Pittsburgh as part of a buyout that aims to cut 260 workers across the country.

The St. Louis-based company, which manages prescription benefits, is hoping the pharmacists at its North Versailles (ver-SAYLS’) location will take the buyout.

Spokesman Brian Henry says the company determined it was overstaffed in some areas, and is looking to cut costs as business slows.

The buyouts were announced Wednesday, a day after the company reported its first-quarter earnings dropped 12 percent to $328 million from $373 million a year earlier.

Express Scripts runs prescription drug plans for employers, insurers and other customers, by processing mail-order prescriptions and handling billing for prescriptions filled at retail pharmacies.

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