‘The Nation Lost a Hero': Officials ID Shooter Who Killed US Marshal, Shot Two Officers in Harrisburg

Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill killed, police officer wounded serving warrant in Pennsylvania's capital city. Shooter dies in gunfight.

What to Know

  • Deputy U.S. Marshal Christopher Hill, 45, died after being shot while serving an arrest warrant in Harrisburg Thursday morning.
  • Police officers kill Philadelphia man in ensuing gun battle.
  • The gunman died. A woman in the house with him was the focus of the arrest warrant.

Prosecutors have identified a 31-year-old Philadelphia man as the shooter who killed a U.S. marshal before being shot to death by police.

Kevin Sturgis had two active warrants from Philadelphia when a fugitive task force showed up at a home in Harrisburg early Thursday to arrest a woman who lives there, the U.S. attorney's office said.

Investigators were arresting the woman when Sturgis began firing from the second floor, killing 45-year-old Christopher David Hill and wounding a York City police officer, officials said.

“The nation lost a hero today,” Acting Deputy Director of the U.S. Marshals Service David Anderson said Thursday afternoon.

The incident took place on the 1800 block of Mulberry Street in Harrisburg around 6:30 a.m. The woman being served had been accused of making terroristic threats.

The task force officers identified themselves as they entered the home, which had children and adults inside. After the officers cuffed the suspect, identified as Shayla Lynette Towles Pierce, a man on the second floor opened fire onto the officers on the first floor.

Hill was struck in the chest and died a short time later at the hospital, authorities said.

“[Hill] was a devoted public servant who dedicated his life to making his community and this nation safer," Anderson said. "We will never forget his commitment and courage."

Hill was an 11-year veteran of the Marshals Service and an Army veteran. He joined the service in 2006 and was transferred to Harrisburg in 2009. He left behind a wife and two children.

"Harrisburg mourns the loss this morning of a U.S. Marshal who died protecting our residents," Harrisburg Mayor Eric Papenfuse said.

Officers gave chase then shot and killed the gunman after he fled the home, marshals said.

Witness Diane Stinson said she saw two officers chasing the gunman. "They were shooting back and forth," she told WGAL.

"...A Harrisburg police officer, who was wounded, bravely returned fire and critically injured the gunman," Papenfuse said.

York, Pennsylvania, Officer Kyle Pitts, assigned to that task force was shot and suffered non-life-threatening injuries, York police said. He was treated for injuries at a local hospital.

U.S. Attorney Dave Freed said there are indications the Harrisburg officer may have been struck in his body armor.

The shooting occurred in the home less than two miles from the state Capitol, in a working class neighborhood of duplexes, single-family homes and commercial buildings. More than three hours after the shooting, a large police presence remained on the scene. 

"No words can adequately express the sadness we feel at this moment as we contemplate the loss of yet another law enforcement officer in the line of duty," Papenfuse said. "I extend my sincerest condolences to the family of the slain U.S. Marshal, to his colleagues and to all law enforcement officers who risk their lives each day to protect and to serve our city and our nation."

Gov. Tom Wolf tweeted he was "saddened to hear this tragic news" and "praying for the officers."

This is the second time in less than a month that officers in Harrisburg came under fire. Law enforcement officers shot and killed Ahmed Aminamin El-Mofty, who they said fired at police in several locations in Harrisburg three days before Christmas. That shooting spree came to an end about one block from where Thursday’s shooting took place. 

Chardo said there is no apparent connection between the cases.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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