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Trooper-Involved Shooting In Delaware Under Investigation

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CLAYMONT, Del. (CBS) - Delaware State Police are investigating a trooper-involved shooting Saturday morning.

The incident happened at about 3 a.m. in Claymont as troopers were searching for 36-year-old Leo J. Peirce who was wanted on several charges including resisting arrest, criminal mischief, receiving stolen property, reckless endangerment, and disregarding a police officer signal.

The charges were the result of a pursuit of a stolen vehicle involving officers from the Wilmington, Newport and state police departments on Thursday. The pursuit ended on Washington Avenue near Elsmere, where authorities say Pierce rammed a Newport Police Department patrol vehicle before abandoning the car and escaping on foot into a wooded area. There were no injuries as a result of this incident.

Saturday morning, authorities received information that Pierce was in the Overlook Colony area in Claymont. He was seen getting into a 2005 Lincoln LS that was parked facing eastbound on 4th Avenue near Brandywine Avenue. After unsuccessful attempts to get Pierce out of the car, a trooper used his taser.

Authorities say Pierce accelerated at a high rate of speed in the direction of another trooper who was positioned on the sidewalk. That officer, authorities say, discharged his weapon several times, striking the front and windshield of the Lincoln which eventually came to a stop.

Pierce was removed from the vehicle and taken into custody. He was not struck by the trooper’s discharged rounds but was transported to Wilmington Hospital for medical evaluation. Troopers involved in this incident were not injured.

Charges for Saturday morning’s incident are pending the conclusion of the ongoing investigation. The Lincoln that Pierce was driving was reported stolen from the Sheridan Nissan dealership on Thursday.

Authorities say Pierce is an active probationer and was also wanted by the Delaware State Police on warrants for two separate shoplifting charges that occurred within the last week.

The trooper involved in this incident is a 14-year veteran of the Delaware State Police assigned to Troop 2. He has been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

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