Sheriff's Deputy Killed In Exchange Of Gunfire With Suspect
Updated On: Jun 30 2011 09:12:24 AM CDT
A sheriff's deputy was shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday night, said state police, who added that the suspect was also fatally shot.
State police confirmed that Kyle Pagerly, one of two K9 deputies with the Berks County Sheriff's Department, was killed while serving an arrest warrant with a group of other officers in the first block of Pine Swamp Road in Albany Township, Berks County.
Police said a joint detail of state police troopers, U.S. Marshals and Berks County Sheriff's deputies went to the house of Matthew Connor to arrest him on charges of criminal trespass, burglary, terroristic threats, and recklessly endangering another person for an incident that happened Monday.
As the law enforcement officers spoke with Connor's girlfriend, state police said Connor, 25, ran out the back of the house and into the woods.
Members of the detail gave chase. As Pagerly, 28, came up to the top of a hill, he spotted Connor pointing an AK 47, an assault rifle, at him.
State police said Pagerly ordered Connor to drop the gun, and Connor refused. Both were then wounded in an exchange of gunfire.
Connor, who police said was wearing a camouflage mask and gloves and was armed with two firearms, died at the scene; Pagerly was flown to Lehigh Valley Hospital near Allentown, where he was pronounced dead at 8:44. The coroner said he died of a single gunshot wound. His death was ruled a homicide.
Pagerly was the first deputy to be killed in the line of duty in the history of the Berks County Sheriff's Department, said Eric Weaknecht.
"It just breaks my heart that a fellow officer had to die because of my family in a violent way," said Maurice Connor, the suspect's father and a retired police officer from Cherry Hill, New Jersey. "God bless his family."
"No one wanted it to be this way," said Claire Connor, the suspect's sister. "Sorry it had to come to this."
One focus of the investigation is to determine how Connor got the assault rifle that was used to kill Pagerly, said Berks County District Attorney John Adams. He said Connor was ineligible to own weapons because of his criminal history.
Adams asked anyone with information to contact the Pa. State Police or Crime Alert Berks County. Crime Alert's toll-free number is 877-373-9913.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Connor was facing charges for threatening to kill his sister and father Monday night.
Police said Connor fired several shots into the ground in front of his father, sister, girlfriend and a guest who was visiting the elder Connor's house. He then placed the gun inside his mouth, acting as if he was going to shoot himself, according to the court documents. A suicide note was recovered at the scene on Monday.
"It's very believable," said Maurice Connor. "He's attempted suicide numerous amount of times, or threatened anyway."
Police said Matthew Connor then entered an unlocked home down the street and pushed over dressers as if he was going to barricade himself inside. Connor later left the home and ran into the woods, said police.
69 News interviewed Kyle Pagerly in January. He spoke about the donation of K9 bulletproof vests to the K9 Assistance Program.
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