HARRISBURG, Pa. (CBS/AP) — A gunman opened fire on law enforcement officers serving an arrest warrant inside a home before dawn Thursday, killing a deputy U.S. marshal before he was shot to death by police as he fled outside, authorities said.
Officials say the gunman was from Philadelphia.
Police were on the first floor handcuffing the woman they were seeking to arrest when a man began firing from the second floor, said U.S. Attorney Dave Freed. The man was fatally shot as he later ran out the front door, again shooting at police, Freed said.
Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher David Hill, 45, an Army veteran who has been with the service more than a decade, died from his injuries. Another member of the police task force, York City Police Officer Kyle Pitts, also was hit by gunfire, but his injuries were not considered life-threatening.
Freed said there are indications a third officer may have been struck in his body armor but not wounded.
“None of us has sufficient words to express our grief and sorrow,” Freed said.
Officials said a team of about seven showed up at the home of Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce, 30, around 6 a.m. to arrest her on a charge of making a terroristic threat with a weapon. They did not say what the relationship was between her and the gunman, identified as 31-year-old Kevin Sturgis of Philadelphia.
Freed said that Sturgis had two active warrants from Philadelphia — one for failure to appear for sentencing and one for failure to appear for a violation of probation hearing. Sturgis had a long rap sheet as he was previously charged for receiving stolen property, unlawful possession of a controlled substance, unauthorized use of an automobile and persons not to possess firearms under the Uniform Firearms Act.
Children also were at home at the time, Freed said.
Hill and Pitts were removed from the back of the house during the confrontation after being shot.
Hill died at a hospital. Authorities said Pitts, a 10-year police veteran, required surgery but they did not further describe his injuries.
Hill, who is survived by a wife and two children, served with the U.S. Army in Afghanistan before being hired by the marshal service in 2006.
U.S. Marshal Martin Pane said Hill belonged to an elite special operations group with the agency and took a lead role in the massive manhunt in the Poconos for fugitive Eric Frein in 2014. Frein was subsequently convicted and sentenced to death for killing a state trooper.
“Chris is just one of those guys that rises to the top,” Pane said. “Chris is the cream of the crop. He’s one of our best and … you would probably not find a better tactical operator in the state of Pennsylvania.”
Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said a city police officer wounded the gunman during the exchange of gunfire.
“No words can adequately express the sadness we feel at this moment as we contemplate the loss of yet another law enforcement officer in the line of duty,” Papenfuse said.
In a statement issued from Washington, Attorney General Jeff Sessions described law enforcement as heartbroken over Hill’s death. He said the officer’s name should be recalled as a synonym for valor.
“Every day, deputy U.S. marshals make the people of this country safer by catching fugitives on the run, protecting our courthouses, our judges and witnesses at trial,” Sessions said. “They achieve these critical accomplishments at often heroic risk.”
Gov. Tom Wolf ordered state flags to fly at half-staff in Hill’s honor until his interment.
The shooting occurred less than 2 miles from the state Capitol in a working class neighborhood of duplexes, single-family homes and commercial buildings.
In late December, in an unrelated shooting nearby, an Egyptian immigrant wounded a state trooper and shot at another officer. He was believed to have acted alone.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)