Police Shooting Investigated After 20-Year-Old Harrisburg Man Killed

Aug 8, 2016

Harrisburg Police Chief Thomas Carter speaks to the media as Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marisco looks on during a press conference on Monday, Aug. 8, 2016.
Credit Ben Allen / WITF

Authorities say a 20-year-old man was holding a knife to his mother's throat before a police officer shot him once and killed him inside the bedroom of the family's Harrisburg home.

Dauphin County District Attorney Ed Marsico said at a news conference Monday that police responding to a child's 911 call found Earl Pinckney holding a knife with a 4-inch blade against the throat of his mother, Kim Thomas.

Thomas is disputing that account, insisting her son didn't have a knife. She said Pinckney, the father of a newborn, was not dangerous.

Marsico said Pinckney didn't comply with police demands to drop the knife before the shooting that occurred around 9 p.m. Sunday.

The unnamed officer is on paid administrative leave while the shooting is being investigated. Marisco said he plans to publicly name the officer at some point. 

"When the evidence calls for a cop to be charged, whether it's a Harrisburg cop or a cop from another department, we have no problem if the evidence leads in that direction, doing our job and holding accountable someone in the criminal justice system," Marsico said.

Police Chief Thomas Carter said the officer in question has worked for Harrisburg for more than a year and previously worked in law enforcement in other municipalities. Carter pleaded with the community for peace, as authorities investigate. 

"I will not hide anything from anyone,” he said. “We will not tell any false information. But this is an investigation and before we can release any information, we must have the facts.”

An autopsy for Pinckney is scheduled for Tuesday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.