DA: Police justified in killing man who held police at bay
WILLIAMSPORT – A single shot to the head caused the death of the 62-year-old man who held law enforcement at bay for seven hours the last day of 2018 at his Lycoming County home.
Lycoming County District Attorney Kenneth Osokow on Tuesday revealed that detail in announcing a state police special response team member was justified in killing Brant Hartung on Dec. 31 in Waterville.
A second shot fired at Hartung, who was in a second-floor window, went up the barrel of the rifle he was holding, Osokow said.
The trooper who fired the fatal shot has not been identified, but a state police spokesman said he returned to duty after a period of administrative leave.
Osokow said there were several factors he considered: Hartung used more than one rifle to fire at emergency personnel responding to his 911 call and that he wouldn’t answer a telephone when troopers attempted to negotiate a peaceful resolution to the standoff using a cruiser’s amplification system.
Osokow had made a preliminary finding of justifiable homicide two days after the incident but waited until he had received a detailed state police report to make it final, he said.
The incident began at 4:42 a.m. Dec. 31 when emergency services personnel were dispatched on the chest pains call.
Hartung slammed the door on the emergency personnel and as they began retreating from the area of house, they heard Hartung rummaging about and then a gunshot, according to court reports.
State police were dispatched at 5:05 a.m. and they said they were fired on at 7:39 a.m. One of the rounds Hartung fired from a second-floor window struck an ambulance.
Efforts were continuing to try to get Hartung to surrender when he again opened fire about 12:30 p.m. Police returned fire and killed him.