Questions remain in Adrian Williams shooting; DA continuing review

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Why did officer Christopher Kertis, after seeing a gun “in plain view” on the seat, allow Adrian Williams to get in his car outside the Serenity Club and drive off before trying to stop him? Why did he not call for back up before Williams got in the car? Did he know it was Williams’ car?

That last question is the subject of social media commentary by some who believe the answer is yes, and that Kertis executed Williams because he walked from a very similar arrest two years earlier. Kertis was the arresting officer.

All that’s known for sure is that after an April 21 chase leading from Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood into Wilkinsburg where it ended with Williams being shot–six times.

Last week, Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala presented a video reconstruction of the shooting.

“He’s not shot in the back when he’s running away,” said Zappala. “When the officer strikes him, he is in possession of a handgun. As he goes down, the gun leaves his possession.”

Williams, 29, of Beechview, was hit twice in the back of the shoulder, under his left arm, under and through his right arm, and above his buttocks. He died at the scene. Zappala said the review is continuing, but would neither confirm nor deny whether Williams pointed his gun at Kertis.

In 2012, Kertis was on patrol near the same bar (then the Traveler’s Club) when three men came out and got into an SUV. Kertis followed. When they ran a stop sign. A chase ensued during which police said Cocaine and a gun were thrown from the car. Williams was charged only with attempting to flee from an officer and given probation. The drugs and gun could not be positively linked to any one person.

The day after the fatal shooting, County Police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said the car video from officers that joined the pursuit doesn’t show the shooting, neither does the video from Kertis’ car.

The car chase ended when Williams hit a pole on Trenton Avenue, Moffatt said he jumped out and a foot chase through several back yards commenced. It ended with Kertis firing six times.

“Only one officer caught parts of the shooting,” said Moffatt. “Other officers tell us certain aspects…but not the shooting. They were obscured by their positions.”

Williams, Zappala noted is a felon, having pleaded guilty to felony drug possession and delivery in 2007, and was not allowed to carry a gun. The gun recovered is registered to an owner in central Pennsylvania and had not been reported stolen.

While Zappala said the investigation continues, some commenters on the We Need Justice Too!!! Facebook page think the investigation is a whitewash.

“DO NOT believe the web of lies that they are attempting to spin…This is a clear case of MURDER and cover-up,” wrote Tracey TjdaMilitant Jennings, after posting a photo of Kertis April 22.

In a post about Zappala’s April 30 announcement, Kendra Webster said it was sad that “Police lie to cover their a**es.”

Commenter Veeta VK-w said, “That’s all them pigs have to say is ohh he shot at me.”

Javon Bundy said Williams’ family should be able to view the video for themselves.
Kertis remains on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation, which now includes the FBI and U.S. Attorney’s office.

(Send comments to cmorrow@newpittsburghcourier.com.)

 

 

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