PITTSTON, Pa. (AP) — A 77-year-old man on a motorized scooter who pointed what appeared to be a handgun at police officers and refused their demands to drop it was shot by them and was killed, authorities said.
Robert Patrick Quinn had been waving the realistic-looking pellet gun around outside an apartment complex for elderly, disabled and low-income residents in Pittston on Sunday night when officers arrived, investigators said.
Quinn, who lived at the complex, had recently been diagnosed with cancer, neighbors said. Police said people they interviewed told them he had expressed suicidal intentions.
Witnesses said officers told Quinn to drop the weapon at least six times before they shot him.
“He was like, ‘Drop your weapon, sir. We’re not going to hurt you.’ That’s all I heard, the cop telling the guy to drop his weapon,” Maria Dombawski told WNEP-TV.
Joe Brown, who was visiting his mother at the apartment complex, said officers tried negotiating with Quinn for about three minutes before firing six or seven times.
“They were like in order, ‘Boom, boom, boom, boom,’” Brown said. “And I figured that’s coming from one gun. It didn’t sound like a gunfight.”
Two officers fired their weapons, the Luzerne County district attorney’s office said.
A heavily breathing officer called for an ambulance and told dispatchers to alert his chief, a state police forensics unit and the district attorney’s office, the Times Leader reported.