Officer who shot, killed gunman in judge's office recalls 'worst fear of my life'

Officer who shot, killed gunman at judge's office tells his story

MASONTOWN, Pa. — It’s only been nine days since a gunman shot four people at a Fayette County magistrate’s office, but the officer who returned fire and killed the shooter is opening up to Channel 11 about what he went through that day and in the days since.

Patrick Shawn Dowdell, 61, was set to appear for a hearing, but instead he showed up armed.

After shooting four people, Dowdell was heading for the exit when he encountered German Township Officer John Lingo, who said he "never wants to go through something like this again."

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"It scared me real bad," he said. "Worst fear I've been in my life."

He said Dowdell opened fire and the situation became chaotic.

"People just started screaming and yelling and officers went running out the side door," he said. "I hugged the wall and I came around and that's where I encountered the shooter."

Lingo has been hailed as a hero for saving lives that day, but he believes the true hero is Sgt. Scott Miller, who was shot in the hand.

"If Scottie doesn't get shot, I may be getting shot by walking past this guy because I did not realize it was him," Lingo said. "It's a family, it's a brotherhood. I owe my life to him. I truly believe I probably would've been shot."