Fatal Officer-Involved Shooting In February Was Justified, Zappala Says
An officer-involved fatal shooting in Homewood in February was justified, according to Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala. The timeline outlined on Tuesday was established piecing together security footage, gunshot time-stamps, evidence from the scene and officer testimony, according to Zappala.
In the early morning hours of Sunday, Feb. 11, two Pittsburgh Police officers began trailing 39-year-old Mark Daniels on foot after he left a convenience store, because they said he appeared agitated and angry.
A little while later, Daniels shot at them at Newman Way and Bennett Street, investigators said. According to their report, Officer Gino Macioce returned fire, striking Daniels in the arm. The bullet severed an artery, and Daniels later died at a hospital. Macioce was then placed on paid administrative leave.
In February, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Macioce had previously been involved in two other on-duty shootings within the year. Those incidents were non-fatal, and Mayor Bill Peduto later said Macioce had been justified in those prior actions.
The two officers involved in Daniels' death were not equipped with body cameras, according to Zappala, which he said would have helped the investigation.
"From the body cameras you can actually see decibel levels, so there would be absolutely no question [over] what weapon was discharged first," he said. "We've used that in the past, because it's significant to the community who shot first."
Last month, the New Pittsburgh Courier reported Pittsburgh Chief of Police Scott Schubert said officers in Zone 5, which includes Homewood, have not yet received body cameras. The limited number of cameras were prioritized for South Side officers, where the highest volume of use-of-force incidents are reported.
An autopsy performed on Daniels showed he had methamphetamine in his system, but Zappala said the medical examiner did not determine if that affected his behavior.
The investigation outlined Tuesday was carried out by the Allegheny County police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, all independent of the Pittsburgh Police Department. Zappala said information has also been made available to the FBI.