Suspect shot, killed during narcotics investigation at North Huntingdon motel

NORTH HUNTINGDON — A suspect was shot and killed during a narcotics investigation at a North Huntingdon motel on Tuesday.

PHOTOS: Major police presence responds to incident in North Huntingdon

In a press conference earlier in the afternoon, Trooper Tristan Tappe said the shooting happened at the Huntingdon Inn motel along Route 30.

A spokesperson for the attorney general’s office said agents were conducting a narcotics investigation in North Huntingdon and fired their weapons. The spokesperson also confirmed a male suspect died.

Tappe said many agencies responded to investigate and the attorney general’s office was on scene.

Sources tell Channel 11 Chief Investigator Rick Earle that the attorney general’s office had set up an undercover heroin purchase. Once the transaction happened, agents arrived in vehicles with lights and sirens on.

The suspect used his vehicle to ram into responding units, which resulted in agents opening fire, sources said.

North Huntingdon Township asked people to avoid Route 30 and Carpenter Lane and said Stewartsville Elementary was on lockdown. The Norwin School District superintendent told Channel 11 the dismissal of high school students was being delayed.

The lockdowns were lifted and high school student dismissal began again at 2:45 p.m.

A man told Channel 11 he was going to get his haircut at a barbershop when he saw police show up at the motel next door. He said he heard about 15 gunshots.

“Joe [the barber] was out of the building and he was looking at the motel over there. He said, ‘There was a lot of cop cars here and they’ve been here all week or something looking for somebody,’” said Dan Cardiff. “We looked over there towards the motel there and they started the gunfire. Then the police came out with all of their weapons and started firing and everything else.”

Channel 11′s Andrew Havranek asked Cardiff what went through his mind as he heard the gunshots.

“Get out. Get out of the way,” Cardiff said, saying it was a scary situation. “Sure it is. Being that close with all those cops with guns out, state troopers and all that. They did a good job, if they got him.”

Criminal and forensic investigators spent much of the day and evening combing the scene.

“We do have each other’s backs as law enforcement but also are focused on the community to keep them safe,” said Trooper Tristan Tappe with state police.

Chopper 11 flew over the scene. A car could be seen along with what looked like a SWAT vehicle in a heavily wooded area near the motel. There’s no word on if that car is tied to the investigation.

No officers were hurt during the incident.

State police are in charge of the investigation. Once the investigation wraps up, they’ll decide if the deadly shooting by officers was justified.

The suspect’s name is not being released at this time but according to the DA’s office, there will be an autopsy.

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