Police officer shot, killed during call; suspect charged

AP News
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Posted: Nov 29, 2015 10:59 PM
Police officer shot, killed during call; suspect charged

NEW FLORENCE, Pa. (AP) — A man suspected of fatally shooting a police officer who responded to a domestic dispute was charged with homicide Sunday.

Online court records show Ray Shetler Jr. was charged with one count of criminal homicide.

Police believe Shetler, 31, shot St. Clair Township Officer Lloyd Reed on Saturday night after officers were called to the dispute in New Florence. Reed, who had been an officer for more than 20 years, was pronounced dead at a hospital.

Shetler was captured around 3:15 a.m. after a six-hour manhunt while walking near a power plant outside New Florence, about 60 miles east of Pittsburgh.

A woman involved in the domestic dispute suffered minor injuries, police said.

Shetler was treated for a gunshot wound to the right shoulder, Trooper Stephen Limani said.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck told The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Shetler faces two other counts related to the domestic situation.

Reed arrived at the scene and identified himself as a police officer before shots were fired, Peck said.

"This is another horrible tragedy that brings to light how difficult a police officer's job can be on a daily basis," Peck said.

About 50 people gathered Sunday night at a park in New Florence to honor Reed, the newspaper reported. Several small tea lights arranged in the shape of a cross flickered on the ground near a parked St. Clair police vehicle.

County Sheriff Jonathan Held told the newspaper he had met Reed several times.

"He was a dedicated officer, down to earth," Held said. "He really cared for the community."

Reed worked at the St. Clair department — which employs all part-time officers — for about five years.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf ordered flags to be flown at half-staff on all state buildings in honor of Reed.

Shetler's mother and aunt told the Tribune-Review they were shocked to learn of his alleged involvement in the shooting, saying it was out of character.

"My son would not just do this," said his mother, Lorie Porter of Saltsburg. "He is not that type of person."

Porter said she was trying to find out more details.

"He's a very good, loving kid who would do anything in the world for anyone," she said.

Shetler's aunt, Wendy Kenley of New Florence, told the newspaper she went to the woman's home as soon as she heard about the shooting. When she arrived, the woman, whom she called Shetler's girlfriend, was on the ground, trying to assist the officer.

"I heard his girlfriend saying, 'Breathe,'" Kenley said, adding she thought something was wrong with Shetler, but then she saw it was a police officer.

Porter and Kenley said they extend their condolences to Reed's family.