Disabled man waving pellet gun killed by police in Pittston

By Ed Lewis - elewis@timesleader.com | August 10th, 2015 8:11 pm

PITTSTON — Residents, nurses and visitors walked through the front entrance at the Anthracite Apartment building Monday morning, less than 12 hours after a 77-year-old disabled man was killed by two Pittston police officers.

State police at Wyoming identified the man as Robert Patrick Quinn.

Several tenants of the 10-story building, which houses 120 rent assisted one-bedroom units, said Quinn recently was diagnosed with cancer and got around in a motorized scooter.

State police said an investigation showed Quinn aimed a pellet gun at two police officers who discharged their weapons. Officers responding initially thought the the man was “in possession of a handgun,” according to state police.

An autopsy Monday by forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross showed Quinn died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Luzerne County Coroner William Lisman ruled Quinn’s death a homicide.

District Attorney Stefanie Salavantis has not ruled if the shooting was justified saying the investigation remains on-going. The officers’ names were not released by Salavantis.

State police said Pittston police responded to the apartment building at 8:44 p.m. Sunday.

Officers immediately reported Quinn was outside the entrance door waving a handgun, state police said.

State police said officers repeatedly told Quinn to drop the handgun. Quinn aimed the handgun at one of the officers at which two officers discharged their weapons at him, state police said.

A recording of the 911 broadcast revealed the first officer arrived at the apartment building at 8:46 p.m. and immediately notified the emergency communications center that a man was pointing a handgun up in the air. Emergency medical technicians were placed on standby three minutes later.

At 8:51 p.m., an officer breathing heavily advised 911 to have an ambulance respond to the apartment building and to contact Pittston Police Chief Robert Powers, a county detective, an assistant district attorney and state police Forensic Services Unit, according to the 911 broadcast recording.

Hours after Quinn was critically shot, the front entrance to the apartment building reopened allowing residents, visitors, nurses and UPS delivery employees to enter and leave.

Light rain on Monday morning darkened blood stains on the sidewalk near the entrance door. Under a U.S. flag near the door, a concrete wall was damaged by a bullet.

Several residents said Quinn lived on the ninth floor and kept to himself, only saying “hello” in the hallway and elevator.

Russell Herring, who lives on the fourth floor, said he heard arguing then “pop, pop” as he looked out his window onto North Main Street seeing police cruisers and ambulances.

“I thought someone was messing around with fireworks,” Herring said.

This is the Anthracite Apartment complex, where Pittston police shot and killed a disabled man late Sunday night.
http://www.psdispatch.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/08/web1_Pittston-Anthracite-Apts-8-10-154.jpgThis is the Anthracite Apartment complex, where Pittston police shot and killed a disabled man late Sunday night. Ed Lewis | Times Leader

By Ed Lewis

elewis@timesleader.com

Reach Ed Lewis at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TLEdLewis.


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