Police fatally shoot homeowner while responding to burglary in Larimer

PITTSBURGH — A homeowner was shot and killed by officers who were responding to a burglary in Pittsburgh’s Larimer neighborhood, police said.

Pittsburgh police spokeswoman Sonya Toler said the officer-involved shooting, which happened just before 4 a.m. Sunday, is under investigation.

When police responded to the burglary and attempted to gain entry into the home in the 100 block of Finley Street, the 57-year-old homeowner began firing shots in the direction of officers who were on the front porch, Toler said.

Officers returned fire at the man, identified by the Allegheny County Medical Examiner’s Office as Christopher Thompkins, Toler said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

“He was right there at the top. That's where they killed him at. See all the bullets? That's where he got killed at - the landing - that's where the cops shot him," Brenda Richmond, Thompkins wife, said.

Thompkins’ family is now questioning how something like this could happen.

“I think they came and they killed the wrong guy. They did. I know that,” Richmond said.

Family members told Channel 11 News that Thompkins lived in the home with his wife and elderly mother, and was licensed to carry. When they woke up to an intruder, Thompkins grabbed his gun, they said.

Richmond showed Channel 11 the inside of the home and where her husband was standing when he was shot and killed by police. Richmond said there were bullet holes where police had fired, but none where her husband was said to be firing.

“Show me a bullet hole Mark did. If he's shooting down, his bullet holes would be here wouldn't it?” Richmond said.

Police said a male suspected in the burglary is in custody. He was later identified as 23-year-old Juan Brian Jetter-Clark.

The two officers involved have been placed on administrative leave, as per protocol, while the investigation, with oversight of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office, is ongoing. One of the officers has been on the force for 4 1/2 years and the other for 7 1/2 years.

Acting Pittsburgh Bureau Chief of Police Scott Schubert released the following statement about the incident:

"A horrible chain of events unfolded on Finley Street in Larimer this past Sunday. It's difficult to find the words to describe the amount of empathy that I have for both the family of Christopher (Thompkins) and the two officers who were involved in the shooting. There are a lot of questions that we cannot immediately answer because we are currently reviewing the incident with the oversight of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office. We have already reviewed the 911 call and video from the scene, and have scheduled interviews with the officers involved. We hope to offer details about the circumstances of the incident as soon as possible."