State police shot and killed a 26-year-old man who detectives said slashed a trooper‘s head with scissors during a confrontation in an East Huntingdon shopping plaza Friday.
A witness said the trooper fatally shot Seth O'Donnell after he stabbed the officer with scissors when police confronted him on shoplifting allegations.
Shopper Joyce Gales, of Connellsville, said a cashier at the Save-a-Lot store called police when O'Donnell began eating and drinking snacks without paying.
“The clerk said to him, ‘Sir, if you’re eating that, you have to pay for it.’ He just disregarded them and continued eating,” Gales said.
Troopers arrived to investigate the disturbance at the store in Crossroads Plaza outside Mount Pleasant when O'Donnell slashed a trooper near the doorway and the trooper shot him, according to State Trooper Stephen Limani.
"The trooper sustained a laceration to his head during the struggle. He Subsquently withdrew his firearm and shot the suspect," Limani said.
Authorities said the incident spilled into the parking lot of the plaza along U.S. Route 119.
“After the suspect was shot, he got up and made it to the parking before he collapsed a few steps outside the store,” Limani said. The man died in the parking lot.
The Westmoreland County coroner‘s office pronounced O'Donnell dead at Excela Frick Hospital in Mt. Pleasant.
Police knew O'Donnell from previous incidents, Limani said.
Channel 11’s Courtney Brennan reported O'Donnell was in court last year for allegedly assaulting his mother and two other people. At his hearing, Brennan asked him about the charges and he started ranting about Hulk Hogan.
Before responding to the Save-a-Lot, troopers were on their way to a Walmart about a half-mile away, where the victim had an earlier confrontation and threatened customers and employees with scissors, Limani said.
Brennan reported that the Save-a-Lot store has several surveillance cameras that could be used during the investigation.
The injured officer is a 10-year veteran of the force, Limani said. The cut to his head will require several stitches, he said.
The Save-a-Lot store is closed while police investigate and clear the scene. The front windows were shattered by gunfire, and numerous evidence markers lay on the sidewalk.
“It‘s a sad situation when this kind of stuff happens,” Gales said. “You just can‘t believe it."
“It’s disturbing, you know, that things like this can happen,” shopper Bobbi Jo Hutchinson said.
Channel 11's news exchange partners at TribLIVE contributed to this report.