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NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. - A double-homicide suspect who escaped a police standoff Thursday shot a sheriff's deputy on Friday and then was shot and killed by police.
Leroy Harris Jr., 24, of Clairton, was killed after police got a tip that he was at a motel in North Huntingdon, about 25 miles east of Pittsburgh, police said.
Two officers spotted Harris on Friday afternoon and ordered him to stop and show his hands, state police spokeswoman Jeanne Martin said.
Harris kept walking toward other officers, pulled a gun and fired once, striking Allegheny County Sheriff's Deputy Ron Stokes in the leg, she said. Several officers then opened fire, killing Harris, Martin said.
Stokes was taken to Allegheny General Hospital, but his injury is not life-threatening.
"We can't leave a person like this running loose in society," Martin said.
Police had gone to a house in McKeesport on Thursday to arrest Harris on murder charges. He fired about five shots at the officers.
A SWAT team, local police and county police were brought in, but police said Harris escaped before the SWAT team's arrival.
Harris had been charged in the February 2007 double-slaying of James Robertson, 34, and Dominique Cochran, 23, in McKeesport. He became a fugitive after failing to appear for an arraignment and preliminary hearing.
Associated Press
 

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Pennsylvania Deputy Wounded in Shootout



IBS/WTAE-TV

A fugitive wanted in a double-homicide case shot and wounded an Allegheny County sheriff's deputy and was killed by return fire.

NORTH HUNTINGDON, Pa. --
A fugitive wanted in a double-homicide case shot and wounded an Allegheny County sheriff's deputy and was killed by return fire Friday afternoon in North Huntingdon, state police said.
Police said Leroy Harris Jr., 24, was walking along Route 30 in North Huntingdon, on his way to the Sheetz convenience store to get some lunch, when officers from the Allegheny County fugitive task force spotted him. Police said when they tried to capture Harris, he pulled out a gun.
"Mr. Harris drew a gun. He shot at the officers, striking one officer in the leg. Officers fired toward Mr. Harris, striking him and killing him," said trooper Jeanne Martin of the Pennsylvania State Police.
"I thought it was fireworks. And I looked around and all of a sudden I seen sirens and fire trucks and everything. And 'pow, pow, pow, pow, pow.' To be honest with you, I don't know how many I heard. But I heard, it was like firecrackers," said witness Leon Kornacki.
Allegheny County Deputy Ron Stokes, who was part of a task force from the county sheriff's office, was shot in the leg. He was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital and is expected to be OK.
This was not the first exchange of gunfire Harris has had with police. Wanted in connection to the killing of two men in 2007, officers tried to serve him with a warrant on Thursday in Clairton. Police said he fired on them, triggering a standoff from which Harris escaped.
"Obviously anyone that's willing to do the actions that he did in the past with the homicides. Do the actions that occurred yesterday where he apparently, to my knowledge, fired upon officers again. We don't, we can't leave a person like this running loose in society. They are obviously a danger to people," Martin said.
Harris' sister is also facing charges for hindering his arrest. Police said Genesis Harris helped hide her brother from police. They said she knew he was a fugitive and told police she couldn't remember when she last saw him.
Police said witnesses told them that they had seen Genesis Harris talk to her brother at their father's house a short time ago.
"It could have been a lot worse, not only for the officers, but also for the members of this community," said Martin, noting the busy afternoon traffic on the highway near where the shooting happened.
Police were in the area after being tipped off to Harris' whereabouts. They believe he was staying just a few miles from the gas station where the shooting happened at the Highland Hotel. Sources tell Channel 4 Action News that a woman checked him in to the hotel, but so far police haven't said if they are looking for anyone else.
Sheriff's deputies had asked the state police barracks in Greensburg for help locating Harris after getting a tip that he was seen in the area, Martin said.
They set up a surveillance team and were able to identify Harris as he walked in the direction of the Sheetz, so state troopers approached him in a vehicle and told him to stop and show his hands, Martin said.
Ignoring the commands, Harris continued walking to a paved area behind the car, where other members of the task force were stationed, Martin said.
Harris fired once at the officers and they shot back, Martin said. Forensics tests will determine whose weapon fired the bullet that killed Harris.
Harris had been wanted since February 2007. He eluded police Thursday during a standoff at a house on Wilson Avenue in Clairton.
County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt said Harris fired a gun at officers when they came through the back door of that house to serve a warrant. Nobody was injured by the gunfire, but Harris was able to get away.
Police said Harris was suspected of killing James Robertson and Dominique Cochran at a house in McKeesport in January 2007.
"I think you have to take into consideration that he shot at the officers, and that the homicide that he's wanted for were people that he knew, so I don't think anybody's safe as long as Mr. Harris is out and about," Moffatt said after the standoff Thursday.
At the time of the two killings, Harris was questioned because police said he wrecked a car matching the description of a vehicle that left the shooting scene. But police did not have enough evidence to file a homicide charge until three weeks later.

Story From: thepittsburghchannel.com
 
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