DA: Pennsylvania State Trooper justified in violent traffic stop shooting


David Joseph Pratt, 18-years of age

LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) — A Pennsylvania State Trooper’s use of deadly force was justified Thursday by the Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office following a hit and run incident along the 1600 block of Lincoln Highway East in May.

Police say 18-year-old David J. Pratt attempted to strike a State Trooper with a vehicle during a traffic stop in the early morning hours of May 11.

Police say the stop was conducted after Pratt, initially sitting in the passenger seat, discarded a cigarette out of the window of the vehicle. 

At the time pratt had an existing felony warrant for Robbery in Lancaster County when he allegedly provided authorities with a false identification.

The Lancaster County District Attorney’s Office says Pratt then slid over to the driver’s side as one Trooper and yelled “Don’t do it.” Simultaneously, another Trooper ran to the front of the vehicle, drew his weapon and told Pratt to “Freeze!” Pratt then started the engine to the vehicle.

Police say Pratt then backed the vehicle up briefly then accelerated into one Trooper, propelling him onto the hood of the car as the driver continued to flee.

Upon landing on the ground, the Trooper fired several shots which landed on the roadway. An investigation later revealed a single bullet hole in the driver’s side area of the front windshield.

According to District Attorney Heather Adams, the Trooper was justified under Pennsylvania law when he shot at the 18-year-old.

“The Trooper’s belief that deadly force was necessary to defend himself and others from serious bodily injury both as the vehicle struck him and as the vehicle fled, was objectively reasonable and therefore justified under the law” said District Attorney Adams.

Pratt was days later in Lebanon County where he faces two counts of felony Aggravated Assault, and one count each of Simple Assault, Recklessly Endangering Another Person, Fleeing and Eluding, Depositing Waste on a Highway, False ID and Driving Without a License.

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