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Wounded officer hailed as ‘true hero’; DA says police responded to domestic dispute, man opened fire

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 10/15/19

A Lower Swatara police officer was shot late Monday after police responded to a domestic disturbance at a residence in the 100 block of Bentley Lane.

The injured officer was Timothy Shea, Dauphin …

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Wounded officer hailed as ‘true hero’; DA says police responded to domestic dispute, man opened fire

Posted

A Lower Swatara police officer was shot late Monday after police responded to a domestic disturbance at a residence in the 100 block of Bentley Lane.

The injured officer was Timothy Shea, Dauphin County District Attorney Fran Chardo said during a press conference Tuesday. He is being treated at the Penn State Health Milton S. Hershey Medical Center for nonlife-threatening injuries and is expected to make a full recovery.

Shea was hired as a patrol officer by the township in January. He is from Hummelstown and graduated from the police academy in 2018, Lower Swatara Chief Jeff Vargo told the Press & Journal in January.

Chardo and Vargo commended the actions of both Shea and Officer Josh Malott, who also responded.

“This is incredible that it ended without loss of life. We’re just blessed that the police officer is going to make a full recovery. He’s a true hero,” Chardo said.

Vargo visited Shea after the suspect was taken into custody.

“He’s in really good spirits. He’s doing really well. He has a bunch of family and officers from throughout the county in the hospital visiting him,” Vargo said.

The suspect is Andrew Park, 47. Vargo said he was also taken to a hospital for a medical evaluation.

According to Chardo, Shea and Malott responded to a report at 11:19 p.m. that someone was trying to break into a residence in the 100 block of Bentley Lane. The address is in the Swatara Shores trailer park off Vine Street just north of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

The suspect “forcibly entered the home” of a former partner, assaulted her and held the woman hostage inside the home, according to Chardo.

When officers arrived, they entered the residence and almost immediately came under fire, Vargo said.

That was at about 11:30 p.m.

“We allege that he fired at the officer and intentionally struck the officer,” Chardo said.

Vargo said one round hit Shea in the leg, and he applied a tourniquet to his thigh and continued on.

Not long after shots were fired, the officers were able to get the woman out of the house, Chardo said.

Her injuries are still being evaluated.

When asked if the officers returned fire, Chardo said he wouldn’t comment until there was a complete investigation and account for the ammunition.

After the woman and officers got out of the residence, Vargo said it turned into a “barricaded gunman situation.”

Vargo said about 50 officers responded from nearly every department in Dauphin County, and Chardo said the Crisis Response Team responded, too.

The residence was surrounded, and Chardo said that communication attempts included a “lengthy attempt at negotiation.”

It ended shortly before 4 a.m. Park was taken into custody.

Neighbors were evacuated from their homes.

“This is a neighborhood where all the residences are in close proximity. In order for the tactical team to operate appropriately, there had to be evacuations for the safety of everyone involved,” Chardo said.

Vargo was at home when he was notified that an officer had been shot.

“It’s very emotional. You think worst-case scenario. Fortunately, it wasn’t, and Officer Shea was OK,” Vargo said. “The last thing you ever want to hear as a chief is one of your officers was injured.”

He doesn’t know the last time an officer was shot in Lower Swatara.

Park reportedly fired a pistol, which was recovered. Chardo said he had a license to carry a firearm.

According to online court records, Park has no previous charges filed against him if Dauphin County. However, Chardo said there were at least two other instances of violence against the victim that weren’t reported within the last several months.

“We’re only now filing charges in there because there were not reports to law enforcement in the past. If there had been, maybe we would not have had that escalation,” Chardo said.

“If he had a protection from abuse order against him, which she would’ve been eligible to get from these prior incidents, or if he had a conviction or a bail condition because of the prior incidents, he wouldn’t have been eligible to have this pistol on this occasion,” he added.

Chardo said Park would be arraigned once the charges are filed, including aggravated assault, assault of a law enforcement officer, and burglary.

According to Chardo, Park would also be charged for prior domestic incidents against the victim, including strangulation.