CHURCHILL, Pa. - The suspect in a SWAT situation that ended in gunshots in Churchill on Wednesday night was heavily armed.
According to police, Robert Cascella, 50, was in possession of several thousand rounds of ammunition, body armor, a gas mask, night vision goggles and various weapons, including an AR-15 rifle, a shotgun and two handguns.
Police and paramedics initially went to the Harmain Road home Wednesday afternoon for a medic call. The man who opened the door appeared to be agitated but cordial.
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As the officers and medics were leaving, a woman ran outside and told them she had just been assaulted by the man who lives there. She told them he struck her repeatedly in the head and knocked her down.
Because police were unable to find him and were aware of the number of weapons he owned, they called in the SWAT team.
“Churchill officers were aware of a significant amount of weapons in the residence at that time again after failing to be able to communicate with him,” said Allegheny County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough.
SWAT officers attempted to talk to the man, but county police say he wouldn’t cooperate.
Eventually they made contact with Cascella, but they say he refused to come outside peacefully and grabbed a rifle instead.
“Additional shots were fired eventually when he did show himself armed to our officers. Again, they fired and did wound the subject,” said McDonough.
County police said he shot at officers twice; however, none of them was injured. They returned fire, ultimately shooting the suspect twice and wounding him. Cascella remains hospitalized in stable condition.
The woman got out safely with minor injuries.
The officers involved in the shooting are on administrative leave during the investigation, which is standard protocol.
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