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‘He Made the Ultimate Sacrifice’: Pennsylvania Police Chief Killed During Multi-Agency Pursuit of Suspect Later Fatally Wounded in Police Shootout

Brackenridge Chief of Police Justin McIntire (Allegheny County Sheriff's Office)

Brackenridge Chief of Police Justin McIntire (Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office)

A local police chief in Pennsylvania was shot and killed and an officer was wounded on Monday during the pursuit of a suspect wanted on a probation violation.

Brackenridge Chief of Police Justin McIntire was fatally shot during the multi-hour manhunt for Aaron Lamont Swan, Jr., who was later killed in a shootout with law enforcement, authorities announced.

According to a press release from the Allegheny County Police Department, troopers with the Pennsylvania State Police on the evening of Jan. 1 conducted a traffic stop on an individual – later identified as Swan – who was driving on Route 28. Swan, who was wanted on a probation violation involving weapons, allegedly fled the scene and managed to escape troopers.

Officers with the Harrison Township Police Department the following day spotted Swan and gave chase, but he again managed to avoid being detained after fleeing the scene on foot, police said.

Swan was located by authorities again on Monday at approximately 2 p.m. and officers from several police departments pursued him his “for several hours” through multiple neighborhoods before losing sight of him, per the release.

An officer with the Brackenridge Police Department at approximately 4:15 p.m. observed Swan and chased him on foot, resulting in “a shooting incident” occurring in the 800 block of Third Street, police said. Officers with Tarentum Borough and Fawn Township then engaged Swan near the intersection of Morgan Street and Brackenridge Avenue, where “additional shooting” occurred.

Police said that it was during those two incidents that Chief McIntire sustained a fatal gunshot wound.

An officer with the Tarentum PD was injured after being shot in the leg. The officer, whose name was not released, was transported to a local hospital and was listed as being in stable condition as of Tuesday.

Following the deadly attack on police, police say Swan “walked into an area home” located in the 1100 block of Pacific Avenue and “demanded the inhabitant’s car keys.” He allegedly stole the individual’s 2014 Subaru Legacy and fled the area without injuring the vehicle’s owner.

Officers from multiple different police departments and SWAT teams responded to the scene of the vehicle theft to continue the search for Swan, who was said to be “armed and dangerous.”

Swan was next spotted driving the stolen Subaru in Pittsburgh’s Lincoln-Lemington neighborhood.

“Police attempted to stop the vehicle, but Swan again fled. Following a short pursuit, Swan crashed the stolen vehicle on Columbiana Street in the Homewood-Brushton neighborhood and again fled on foot into a wooded area,” police said. “While police formed a perimeter, Swan left the wooded area and ran into a housing development. While fleeing officers, fired at officers who returned fire. He fired additional shots at police, who returned fire, stopping the suspect. Swan was declared deceased at the scene.”

An officer with Pittsburgh PD sustained a minor injury believed to be from shrapnel.

According to the release, investigators recovered a total of five guns that they believe Swan used throughout the series of violent encounters; four were recovered in Brackenridge and one was found in Homewood.

The investigation into the shootings remains ongoing. Allegheny County PD and Brackenridge PD did not immediately respond to inquiries from Law&Crime.

“The small towns that dot the map of Allegheny County and the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania have special relationships with their police departments,” Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office said in a statement. “In many of these boroughs and townships, the police department may only consist of a chief and a handful of officers. Such is the case in Brackenridge and that is why the senseless death of Brackenridge Chief Justin McIntire earlier today will reach into and tear at the very soul of the small piece of our county that hugs the bank of the Allegheny River.”

Pennsylvania Attorney General Josh Shapiro also weighed in on the tragic loss of Chief McIntire.

“Today’s tragedy in Brackenridge is a devastating reminder of the bravery of those who put their lives on the line every day to protect us,” he wrote on Twitter. “Police Chief Justin McIntire ran towards danger to keep Pennsylvanians safe — and he made the ultimate sacrifice in service to community.”

[image via Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office]

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Jerry Lambe is a journalist at Law&Crime. He is a graduate of Georgetown University and New York Law School and previously worked in financial securities compliance and Civil Rights employment law.