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Local teacher shot, killed by police after pointing a gun at officers

SHALER, Pa. — A Shaler man is dead after being shot by police outside of his home in the Spencer Woods neighborhood.

Police said they were called to the area for reports that the man, Donald Babbit, 49, was acting erratically.

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When officers arrived, they were informed Babbit had access to guns inside his home. Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said those officers set up a perimeter and began trying to contact him using a loud speaker.

Babbit then allegedly walked toward officers waving a handgun in the air.

After officers told him to put it down he pointed it at one of them, McDonough said.


That's when three officers shot Babbit and hit him multiple times. He was taken to a nearby hospital and pronounced dead a short time later.

Babbit was a teacher in the Penn Hills School District.  The district superintendent released the following statement Wednesday morning:

Penn Hills has shown repeatedly its heart and resiliency in times of struggle.  In these moments, we have also displayed courage and solidarity.

Dr. Nancy Hines

Penn Hills School District Superintendent

Babbit was also a golf coach and was remembered by the Penn Hills Athletic Department.

Penn Hills School District issued a statement saying Babbit was a teacher in the district:

"It is with deep regret that the Penn Hills School District shares the unexpected passing of PHHS teacher Don Babbit earlier today.  Don was a beloved member of our staff and had the distinct reputation among students, families, and colleagues as being an exceptional teacher.  He will be missed.

Grief counselors will be on site in the PHHS cafeteria Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday this week from 10 am - 3 pm for any student, staff, or community member who would like to stop by.  Local Reverend Jay Mitlo is also expected to be on site Wednesday and Friday at these same times to offer additional support. No further information is available at this time."

Nick Lonadi, a former student of Babbit's and current teacher in the Penn Hills School District, said he can't figure out what caused Babbit's behavior.

"Whatever happened during those few hours, that’s not who he was. It’s just not. It’s bizarre and hard to process," Lonadi said. "If you talk to people in Penn Hills, I think the word you’re going to get is 'shock.'"

Our crew at the scene said neighbors reported hearing as many as a dozen gunshots outside. One man described it as a "barrage" of gunfire.

This is the fifth officer-involved shooting in Allegheny County this year, the first one being in May. You can read more about them in the section below.

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