Probe: Shooting by APD justified

The shooting of an armed and suicidal man in April by an Altoona police officer was justified, an investigation by the state police and Blair County District Attorney’s Office has concluded.

An Altoona patrolman shot a 48-year-old man at close range the night of April 8 at 1615 16th St. after officers responded to a call about a man, armed with a knife, threatening to commit suicide, according to state police. Altoona police Chief Janice Freehling identified the officer Friday as Patrolman Thomas Venios.

Venios fired one shot at the man, who state police said tired to cut himself as officers arrived. The shot hit the man in the forearm, Blair County District Attorney Richard Consiglio noted in a press release sent out Friday afternoon.

“The civilian’s injury, while certainly regrettable, occurred due to the civilian’s own conduct, which was the major contributing factor in the incident,” Consiglio noted.

Consiglio said the investigation into the shooting by the state police and his office concluded the shooting was done in the performance of the officer’s duty and that the 48-year-old man turned toward and appeared to begin to approach the officers with the knife as they attempted to keep him from harming himself.

After the man was shot, he showed no signs of being injured and struggled briefly with the officers before he was hit with pepper spray and the knife was wrestled away, Consiglio said.

State police said previously that AMED personnel were standing by outside the home and immediately attended to the injured man before taking him to UPMC Altoona.

Consiglio, who called the investigation “exhaustive and lengthy,” said no charges will be filed against the 48-year-old or Venios. The 48-year-old’s name is not being released because he was not charged with a crime.

Freehling said Friday that Venios has been on administrative duty, commonly referred to as “desk duty,” since the shooting.

“The Firearms Review Board is convening next week to make a determination as to whether or not the officer’s actions were in accordance with departmental policy,” Freehling said of the internal review of the incident.

Mirror Staff Writer Greg Bock is at 946-7458.