Man whose son stabbed police K-9 to be released from jail; Family plans federal lawsuit

PITTSBURGH — A man accused of fighting with police before his son fatally stabbed a K-9 and was killed by officers will be released from jail as he awaits trial.

During Thursday’s preliminary hearing for 60-year-old Bruce Kelley Sr., of Wilkinsburg, one charge of aggravated assault and one charge of resisting arrest were dropped. Kelley Sr. was held for trial on another charge of aggravated assault.


His son, 37-year-old Bruce Kelley Jr., was fatally shot by Port Authority transit police after stabbing their dog.


That happened Jan. 31 when police say they tried to stop the men from drinking at a transit gazebo, only to have Bruce Kelley and his father fight with them.

Police say they deployed the dog when a stun gun failed to subdue Kelley Jr.

Attorneys have denied his father did anything wrong.

A judge decided Thursday to release Kelley Sr. and allow him to stay with his sister-in-law. He was ordered to have no contact with the Port Authority.

Following Thursday's hearing, the Kelley family told Channel 11's Jennifer Tomazic they plan to file a federal lawsuit on Bruce Kelley Jr.'s behalf, claiming civil rights violations by the Port Authority.

“That was somebody’s nephew, uncle, brother. That was my brother, my only brother, and he doesn’t deserve it,” said Calisa Kelley, Bruce Kelley’s sister.

The Kelley family is still enduring after the incident was still evident after a hearing for Bruce Kelley Sr.

The family claims Port Authority officers used excessing force when they shot and killed Kelley Jr.

“We believe the situation was grossly mishandled, preventable and unnecessary,” lawyer Noah Geary said.

The district attorney’s office is also investigating the death of Kelley Jr.

Noah said Kelley Jr. suffered from schizophrenia. A Port Authority police officer said Kelley Jr. was hugging a gazebo when police were trying to get him under control.

“Who hugs a gazebo? That’s indicative,” Geary said.

The family held a memorial service for him, and are trying to move forward.

“We are all mudding through,” said Bessie King, Kelley Jr.’s sister-in-law.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.