PITTSBURGH (AP) — The father of a man fatally shot by police after stabbing a police dog has been jailed on charges he assaulted another officer in the confrontation at a busway in the Pittsburgh suburbs.
Bruce Kelley Sr., 60, was jailed Monday after his arraignment on aggravated assault, prohibited offensive weapons, obstructing police and other charges.
Port Authority of Allegheny County police contend Kelley and his son, Bruce Jr., 37, were drinking alcohol in a busway gazebo in Wilkinsburg before they fought with officers, who sent a K-9 after the younger man.
Police shot and killed Bruce Kelley Jr. after he fatally stabbed the dog, Aren, a 5-year-old German shepherd with four years on the transit police force, Sunday afternoon.
County police were investigating the incident Monday, and the district attorney eventually will review the matter to determine if the force used was justified. The officers have been placed on paid leave pending that investigation and an internal review
Online court records don’t list an attorney for Bruce Kelley Sr., who remained jailed, unable to post $300,000 bail.
Kelley faces a preliminary hearing Feb. 11. His criminal complaint doesn’t describe the death of his son or the K-9, though it does describe how the police encounter with the Kelleys began. Other details were spelled out by county police Supt. Charles Moffatt and Port Authority police Chief Matthew Porter at a Sunday news conference.
Two officers were walking along a busway trail when they saw the Kelleys drinking unspecified alcoholic beverages from open containers, authorities said.
According to the complaint, Kelley Jr. attempted to walk away then cursed when the officers told him to stop, instead rushing one of the officers, identified only as Officer Adams. Kelley Jr. fought with that officer, who was later taken to a hospital with cuts to his hands, according to transit spokesman Jim Ritchie.
When Officer Emily Hampy tried to help subdue Kelley Jr., the younger man called for his father for help.
That’s when Kelley Sr. allegedly punched Hampy in the right side of her face, then fought with her, knocking loose her radio and nametag, the complaint said.
Kelley Sr. was charged with possessing brass knuckles, but the complaint doesn’t specify whether he used them to strike the female officer.
Hampy used pepper spray to subdue Kelley Sr. then tried to help the other officer subdue Kelley Jr., the complaint said.
At one point, Kelley Sr. got back up and was pepper sprayed again, at which point his son fled.
The complaint doesn’t say what happened next to the younger man, but Moffatt and Porter said that’s when police pursued Kelley Jr., and several officers caught up to him a short time later. Knowing he had a knife, they tried to subdue him with a Taser, which didn’t work because of the suspect’s heavy coat.
The officers then sent the dog toward Kelley Jr., who fatally stabbed the animal; Kelley Jr. was shot in the process.
Authorities didn’t immediately say how many officers fired at the suspect, or how many shots they fired. Results of an autopsy Monday weren’t immediately available.
The dog’s death was the second fatal K-9 stabbing in the county in two years.
Pittsburgh police K-9 Rocco died Jan. 30, 2014, days after being stabbed by burglary suspect John Rush. Rush has been convicted and sentenced to serve more than 17 years in prison for killing the dog, wounding two police officers and violating his probation on earlier cases. Rocco’s death also prompted state lawmakers to stiffen the maximum sentence for killing a police animal from seven to 10 years.
Various organizations have since raised money to outfit Pittsburgh-area police K-9s with protective vests. K-9 Aren wasn’t wearing such a vest.