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Friday, July 25, 2008

Breaking News From Centre County


Man killed in shootout with police

Centre Daily Times
At least a dozen shots were fired in the Cato Park area of Ferguson Township in a chaotic scene that unfolded as police tried to arrest a man driving a white Ford Bronco.

The man apparently was killed in the exchange of gunfire. A body remained in the Ford Bronco, which was screened off from public view, as the coroner arrived at the scene. Damage from the confrontation could be seen in the taillight of a nearby car that had been shot out, and a shattered window of the second story of Building B at 2029 Cato Ave.

Events began unfolding about 10 a.m., when police began broadcasting that they were searching for a bearded man driving a white Ford Bronco, saying he appeared to be mentally unbalanced and armed with a shotgun. He had been seen in Bellefonte, and was believed to be heading down the Benner Pike toward U.S. Route 220.

Police said the man might be heading to a radio station at Cato Park in Ferguson Township. Mark VanOuse, station manager of Christian radio station WTLR in Cato Park said he received a warning from someone at 10:05 a.m.

“The person called and said there was someone they knew and he was upset and he was headed our way with intent to do harm,” VanOuse said.

A short time later, police contacted the radio station and informed the people there that there was a "credible threat" to their safety, and urged them to move away from the windows to the interior of the building. Three people were inside the building.

About 25 minutes after the initial call, Van Ouse said he heard the sound of an engine gunning. He saw an older model white SUV driving erratically around the station building on the grass.

Kevin King watched the scene from the RLW offices where he works, across the street from WTLR.

He said the driver of the Bronco saw the police cars and appeared to challenge them.

“(The Bronco) stopped, and started revving its engine," he said. "It went up and out of sight for a moment, then it rammed a cop car.”

“The Bronco came around and up one side of the building," said RLW employee John Gierchak. "They fired off some shots at him, and he rammed the police car at the end."

"He was driving wildly," a witness said.

When asked how many gunshots were fired, numerous witnesses said they heard eight distinct shots, then a rapid volley of gunshots.

“There were numerous gunshots that rang out,” VanOuse said. VanOuse said he didn’t know who was firing.

One witness said it appeared police were trying to shoot the Bronco's tires. It was not known if the suspect fired any of the shots.

The man's truck ran into the side of the Central Pennsylvania Christian Insitute.

Police surrounded the truck, and witnesses said it appears police shot the driver through the windows.

More details will be posted when they become available.

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