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State police news conference on trooper shootings

State police news conference on trooper shootings

One trooper killed, a second wounded

Good afternoon. My name is Colonel Chris Parris, Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. I’d like to introduce several members in the party behind me. Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations. Lieutenant Colonel Joanne Reid, deputy commissioner of staff district Attorney, Corey Cook from Juniata County and the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association President Dave Kennedy. It is with deep regret and sadness that we are here to speak to you today about *** both harrowing and tragic day for the Pennsylvania State Police and our family. Yesterday, June 17th, 2023 we had two troopers shot in the line of duty. We are confirming that. Lieutenant James Wagner, age 45 who enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police in 2002, *** 21 year veteran who currently serves as the station commander at Troop G Bedford barracks in Bedford County. He was *** member who was shot. He also serves as an active member in the Naval Reserve. He is married and *** father of three sons, all of whom currently serve on active duty with the United States Coast Guard. He is currently listed in critical condition at Hershey Medical Center. The second member trooper, Jacques Rao, age 29 who enlisted in the Pennsylvania State Police in 2020. He would have celebrated his three year anniversary of becoming *** trooper on June 29th of this month, he was stationed at Troop G Lewistown in Juniata County. He is married. Our hearts and prayers are with these brave troopers and their families, their dedication and service to the commonwealth and its residents will always be remembered. I would like to begin by telling you about the events of yesterday by offering *** qualifier that this event transpired over multiple hours over multiple scenes causing *** massive response from many departmental segments. My hope is to now give you an approximate timeline of the incident as it unfolded across these different locations. Keeping in mind that we’re very much in the middle of an ongoing and active investigation. So the incident begins yesterday at approximately 11 AM at Troop G Lewistown barracks in Juliana County. *** 2008 Chevrolet pickup arrived in the parking lot of the barracks at Lewistown. It drove through the parking lot and it was noted on the closed circuit video surveillance by people inside of the barracks which was occupied at the time. Mr Stein got out of his vehicle and fired several rounds from *** long rifle into marked patrol cars. Obviously, this garnered the attention of the members who were attempting to provide the services that we do all across the Commonwealth. Mr Stein then got back into his truck and drove away. We were able to identify him and we immediately began *** search. We activated *** major case team and other department assets to include one of our helicopters to aid in that search of attempting to locate Mr Stein. Lieutenant Wagner was serving as the officer of the day for troop G. So troop G is headquartered in Holidaysburg. It’s made up of several counties in the mid state. Lieutenant Wagner serves as the station commander of Bedford barracks as I discussed the role of the officer of the day in the state police is to serve either in *** station commander or commissioned officer role to supervise operations during what would be considered uh off regular hours. So Lieutenant Wagner was leading from the front, making sure that the operations were running smoothly in troop G when this situation unfolded. At approximately 11 AM, Lieutenant Wagner joined the search for Mr Stein at approximately 12 45. Lieutenant Wagner encountered Mr Stein in Mifflin town borough, Juniata County. During this encounter, Stein engaged Lieutenant Wagner with *** long rifle shooting him and critically injuring him at this point. In the incident, multiple citizens and witnesses arrived to provide aid to Lieutenant Wagner and use the radio that was in his car to summon additional troopers and ems and first responders to help troopers citizens, E M T s and other first responders arrived at the scene and they attempted and successfully provided life saving first aid to Lieutenant Wagner. He was subsequently transported to Lewistown Hospital and from there was life life flighted to Hershey Medical Center where he currently remains, as I said in critical condition. So we have an incident that begins at 11 AM and now we have the encounter around approximately 12 45 myself personally, I was in Philadelphia yesterday with the governor and the president attending *** briefing about the projection of the interstate 95 collapse and continued construction project. I had been briefed immediately after the shots were fired into the patrol car. I was subsequently notified upon uh Lieutenant Wagner’s being engaged by gunfire and critically injured. I attempted to immediately begin traveling west from Philadelphia and I arrived at Hershey Medical Center around approximately 2 30 simultaneous to Lieutenant Wagner being life flighted in. So we have multiple scenes up until this point, multiple things going on and an ongoing search and manhunt for Mr Stein at that point, simultaneous to all of this occurring, Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations was able to uh get into *** helicopter and begin assisting and directing the search from the air of Mr Stein. At this point, I would like to turn it over for his firsthand account of how the rest of the incident unfolded before I come back up and continue with the uh press conference. So Lieutenant Colonel George Bivins, thank you, Colonel. Let me start by painting *** picture for you of the situation that our troopers found themselves in, they had already encountered gunfire from an individual with *** very large caliber rifle, one that would defeat any of the body armor that they had available to them. In spite of that, uh they heroically, in my estimation, uh continued this search very aggressively. They were using *** number of resources the department has available to them. We were attempting to track this individual and my characterization of it is that he was playing somewhat of *** game of cat and mouse with them. There were phone calls, there were attempts to, to try and negotiate with him, but there were phone calls from him providing *** location and then he wouldn’t be there. He was, he seemed to be setting our people up for potential ambush while they were in the process of covering multiple um through multiple municipalities and jurisdictions. Um One of our troopers traveling down Bum Gardener drive towards Swamp Road unfortunately was ambushed by Mr Stein from the area of Swamp Road with *** gunshot that struck trooper through the windshield of his patrol car, killing him. Other troopers came to his assistance. Stein escaped down Swamp Road. Um got into uh uh somewhat still rural but residential area, uh some wood lots and things in there and, um, and our people were attempting to locate and flush him out of there. One or more of our members engaged him did flush him out. I was overhead at that point with the helicopter and we were able to coordinate, getting additional patrols to try and intercept him what I witnessed. Uh And I will tell you in, in my many years with the Pennsylvania State Police and many serious situations was one of the most intense unbelievable gun fights I have ever witnessed. As he, uh, Stein drove through *** field, uh approached Harshberger store and *** small restaurant there. He drove to the parking lot. There were people in the lot that were patronizing that business. Our troopers put themselves between those people and, and by force with their, their vehicles and by engaging him, forced him away from the business and back out toward, um, Bumgarner Drive. There was an exchange of gunfire in the edge of that parking lot. Stein then drove across Bumgarner Drive through *** residential yard and garden and became stuck against *** row of trees on that property with our people continuing to engage him. It was immediately after that situation had been stabilized that we discovered the fate of trooper root. He was beyond assistance at that point. But I want to stress to you what I saw out there with our people putting themselves in harm’s way was an amazing thing. They kept all of those, the residents, the customers of that store safe and did so by standing between those folks and Stein. So I’m gonna turn it back over to uh, the colonel for some other thoughts. But, uh, um, I just want to tell you as the Deputy Commissioner of Operations, how proud I am of, of each and every one of those troopers. Thank you. Thank you, Lieutenant Colonel. I would be remiss if I didn’t specifically thank the citizens, the E M T S dozens and dozens of troopers across multiple installations who responded to this incident as well as the life flight crew and the Hershey medical staff who have assisted us to this point which is still very early in the investigation. There were multiple scenes that had to be investigated, mapped evidence forensically gathered and it was *** very complex operation through last night into the very early mornings and continues at this hour as well. We are currently working with the District Attorney of Juniata County, district Attorney Snook for *** full and unlimited investigation into this incident. His people are working with our people with full and unlimited access on that investigation. This is *** tragedy for the state police. We ask for your continued prayers for not only our troopers, one killed, one wounded but also their respective families and all of the troopers that were involved in this incident yesterday, I have to say in my opinion, watching, I’m being briefed on what occurred yesterday. It’s *** miracle that no members of the public were injured or killed as *** result. As the colonel. On *** very personal note, I have to say that I’m humbled to come here and serve every day as the Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police. I’m humbled by the work that our people do. Some of which may not get the greatest uh attention, but it goes on anyway. Unfortunately, I can say that this is not the first time one of our installations was attacked and yet, and still our people continue to do an admirable job running and driving to the gunfire to protect the communities that we serve to protect the residents of the commonwealth and to protect the communities in which they work. I also would like to thank Governor Shapiro who has offered his unconditional support. He has been to the Hershey Medical Center to offer his continued support for the Wagner family and his administration who has supported the Pennsylvania State Police uh through this difficult time. As we move forward, the investigation will require continued assets to be brought in outside of troop G which we are doing. There has been no drop off in the services that we provide and the expectation of the public should remain that uh if they call and they need service, we will be there to give it. As I said, we will do *** full fair, competent, thorough investigation. We will look into this matter at this point. There are no clear motives which we can point to but the investigation is very much ongoing. I’m struck by the level of violence that this investigation over these uh hours as it transpired. Uh And I remain humbled and in awe of the way that our people rallied and brought the resources needed to bear to protect the community. So with that, I would open it up to uh questions and Pennsylvania State police or police at all prior to this, at this point in the investigation, I really only feel comfortable that we’re working on the timeline. And obviously there’s *** full focus of the investigation into the not only immediate time frame leading up to this but also what the entire operational picture of Mr Stein looked like. Spell the name of the trooper that passed as well. I just want to make sure we have that correct. We will get it to you. We also have *** photograph, verbal exchange between Stein and officers at any point. I would allow that to question Lieutenant Colonel Beman Assembly. The only exchange occurred via some phone calls that had occurred. He was calling the 911 Center. And again, we were attempting to contact him and negotiate, but there was no direct communication at any of the scenes. I don’t know if you can use this or not, but um what was I just, I just totally forgot my question. Someone else. I do have one more. Why do you presume he was calling the 911 centers? I know you described it as *** game of cat and mouse. But are you able to kind of explain just so I can get *** better idea in my head? I can’t give you the number of calls at this time. That’s all part of the ongoing investigation. And again, speaking to his motive would be beyond my ability. At this point, I can only characterize what we actually observed. And again, I characterize it *** game of cat and mouse. He was calling 911. Yes. And what that’s not. I remembered it. The fact that sea troopers don’t have body cameras is that going to affect the investigation at all? It will have no impact on the investigation. And we are in the process of acquiring body cameras for each of our patrol officers out there. *** contract has been awarded and we’re in the implementation phase. Now the trooper that was killed this truck that would have been about roughly 2 30 in the afternoon and everything else played out in very short order there. So we had two scenes prior to that and we had three scenes in close proximity, the scene where he was shot and killed another scene just out swamp swamp road near another residence where troopers engaged him and then finally back near the restaurant and the final resting point. And so *** fairly large area, but all within sight of, of each other, number of people decided they were told to lock down in place there were people inside the restaurant and yes, they did lock down. We tried to keep, you know, people got out of the parking lot and our troopers were in the lot. Were they inside, do you know? Or they were not kept inside for *** long period of time? Once the scene was safe, they were out, they did remain on site for *** little while because we needed to process that scene and we had shell casings and evidence that needed to be collected. They could have been disturbed. We also had some crashes, some of our patrol cars and it was such *** fluid situation that our patrol cars, our members were literally bailing out of the cars while they’re moving. They were, they were under fire and the cars crashed into one or two of the at low speed, but crashed into one or two of the customers vehicles that were there while our people were bailing out to engage this gunman. It’s *** long, can you give *** specific on what that gun was? Was that part of the, uh, it’s *** part of the investigation. What I would tell you is, it’s *** 4 58 magnum caliber gun. I can’t give you the make and model of it. Um, I would tell you that it is *** exceptionally large caliber rifle for, uh, that would customarily likely be used for very large game hunting. Mr Stein’s mental state during the whole thing was he having like, like he didn’t have *** breakdown or anything like that. Again, that will be part of the ongoing investigation video. And there were so many rounds and I saw the evidence markers. Do you guys have any idea how many rounds were actually fired? We do, I’m not prepared at this point to provide that. Again, that’s all part of the investigation. But we do *** very careful that will count for every round. We know how many rounds of ammunition in any gun that our members are carrying. And so we do round counts, for example afterwards, so that we can verify how many rounds they expended. We try to account for every single one of those where the casing ends up and also where the round went. And so that’s one of the reasons it takes so long to process some of these scenes and particularly in *** case like this when I tell you that it was ***, an, an amazingly intense gun fight. Um I’m sure you’ve heard some of the audio that, uh, that I’ve heard released out there. That was about one piece of the exchange. Um I would estimate hundreds of rounds exchanged. And uh the only analogy I could draw is *** war zone. It was, it was that intense, but that was the only way they could prevent him from becoming *** threat, more of *** threat to those civilians. Last question, I’m so sorry when you reached out to the shooter’s family. Have they been cooperative? What has been their response? We have reached out? I don’t want to characterize right now. Uh What that response has been. But uh but again, um our interaction with them is all part of the ongoing investigation. Provide the three addresses to the locations. Yes, we’ll get it. Stein from, he was from how you got Stein was *** resident of Thompson Town, Pennsylvania, Juniata County. And the vehicle that was involved was registered to him, which was very uh preliminarily and then ultimately verified to be to be him after he showed up at the barracks through the video surveillance that we have again, not to be labor, but yeah, to speak *** word about the large caliber rifle or the nature of the ballistics between *** handgun and *** long gun, in particular, *** rifle, the ability to reach out and effectively direct fire with *** rifle over exponentially greater distances made this situation extremely extremely dangerous. In terms of if we look at the physical plant that we’re at right now, these areas open for hundreds of yards, they would all be readily um utilized to shoot and use, use this long rifle and to drive into that scene knowing that uh our barracks had been attacked and troopers had taken fire. I’m really in awe of the work that was done. You got wrong. Absolutely. I’m glad you asked that question. So c please maintains *** very robust members assistance program. We have several full time members who are engaged right now. Uh We obviously have *** family in need at Hershey Medical Center. They are being taken care of. We obviously have *** grieving family that is being taken care of. We have *** line of duty funeral to plan. Uh We have an investigation to continue on site. I will tell you that I had the opportunity after being at Hershey Medical Center to interact with several of our people just to check and see how they are doing. And my advice to them was to make sure that they are taking care of themselves and their families. Today. Being Father’s Day, I tried to wish them *** happy Father’s day for those to whom it applied. We will continue with the psychological services to include *** psychological diffusion and *** debriefing as well as other steps, the Tactical Assurance Program, all part of the ongoing investigation as we move forward to look at everything that occurred here in the long term. Unfortunately, having been part of an incident like this before, I would characterize our people as exceedingly resilient, but at the same time, very human and my personal advice to them last night, which I know has been echoed through those formal channels of the member’s assistance program is pay very close attention. Stress is in the eye of the beholder. I’ve seen people endure very traumatic incidents and be able to deal with it seemingly unaffected. I’ve seen others who’ve returned and then had some issues and had to deal with those. Thereafter. I’ve seen people who needed some help before that were fully committed and I can’t underwear again. Dozens and dozens of troopers responding from all different locations, multiple troops to provide assistance. And it was *** very chaotic. And as I said, the two words that stick out to me are tragedy and harrowing. It was *** tragic and harrowing day. Excuse me, say that again, I’m sorry. No. Ok. Prior to yesterday’s events, have there been any threats made to the, none of which were aware, but that’s part of the ongoing investigation. Anyone else I appreciate you all being here. We wanted to take this opportunity to answer the questions that we felt that we could. Uh I wish to those applicable Happy Father’s Day. Uh It’s *** very difficult day. The loss in, in many ways is more that we, that we can bear, but we will bear it. Um But we ask for your continued prayers and support. And again, I can’t say enough about the people in the immediate location of this incident. This was as Lieutenant Colonel Bivin said as harrowing as it gets. Thank you very much.

State police news conference on trooper shootings

One trooper killed, a second wounded

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Christopher Paris and Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens provided an update on yesterday’s incident in Juniata County.Two Pennsylvania state troopers were shot in the line of duty on Saturday in Juniata County.One trooper, Jacques F. Rougeau, Jr. succumbed to his injuries and the second, James Wagner is at Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center in critical condition.Brandon Stine, of Thompsontown, drove his 2008 Chevrolet Silverado truck into the parking lot of the PSP Lewistown Station. Stine engaged the troopers around 12:45 and shot one trooper, James Wagner. Wagner was seriously injured and transported.After a search, Stine was located in the area of Swamp Road and Baumgardner Drive in Walker Township, Juniata County, shortly before 3 p.m.Troopers and the suspect exchanged gunfire and Stine and Rougeau Jr. were both killed.

Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Christopher Paris and Lieutenant Colonel George Bivens provided an update on yesterday’s incident in Juniata County.

Two Pennsylvania state troopers were shot in the line of duty on Saturday in Juniata County.

One trooper, Jacques F. Rougeau, Jr. succumbed to his injuries and the second, James Wagner is at Penn State Health Hershey Medical Center in critical condition.

Brandon Stine, of Thompsontown, drove his 2008 Chevrolet Silverado truck into the parking lot of the PSP Lewistown Station. Stine engaged the troopers around 12:45 and shot one trooper, James Wagner. Wagner was seriously injured and transported.

After a search, Stine was located in the area of Swamp Road and Baumgardner Drive in Walker Township, Juniata County, shortly before 3 p.m.

Troopers and the suspect exchanged gunfire and Stine and Rougeau Jr. were both killed.

https://www.wgal.com/article/state-police-news-conference-on-trooper-shootings/44242233 State police news conference on trooper shootings

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