2012-01-05 / Front Page

Man’s Death Attributed To “Suicide by Cop”

WASHINGTON, Pa. (AP) – A coroner says an armed southwestern Pennsylvania man who led officers on a chase before they fatally shot him committed “suicide by cop.”

Washington County Coroner Tim Warco says that’s his conclusion Friday after reviewing testimony from a Nov. 4 inquest into the death of 42-year-old Kelly Duane Smith, of Canonsburg.

Smith was shot and killed by police on July 7, 2010 following a pursuit that ended in a pileup.

Authorities say Smith lit a cigarette, loaded his gun and then aimed it at officers after the crash.

Police officers testified they yelled for Smith to drop the gun to no avail. District Attorney Steve Toprani has previously said the shooting was justified.

Smith’s family has argued officers might have used a stun gun to subdue him instead.

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