An unidentified police officer shot and wounded an alleged drug dealer Thursday afternoon on North Stratton Street in Gettysburg as he was being dragged along the street by the suspect's vehicle.
Around 1:30 p.m. Thursday, an undercover officer, working with the Adams County Drug Task Force and the Gettysburg Police Department, executed a "buy-bust," according to State Police Public Information Officer Karl Schmidhamer.
The undercover officer bought around four "rocks" of crack cocaine from a man police identified as Rodney T. Williams, 22, of Philadelphia, on the corner of North Stratton and East Water streets, Schmidhamer said. He called in other officers to make the arrest.
Williams got into a minivan and attempted to flee, Schmidhamer said, so another officer reached in through the van's open window to put the vehicle in park.
Williams then put the car in gear and began driving in reverse, dragging the officer as he held on, Schmidhamer said. He would not say how many feet the officer was dragged.
The officer, who Schmidhamer said feared for his life, then fired his weapon, hitting Williams once. Schmidhamer would not comment on the number of shots fired, but a neighbor, Regina Robinson, said she was at home in bed when she heard what sounded like two gunshots.
"I heard two cracks," she said.
When she came outside, Robinson said, the neighborhood "looked like a police station down here."
Williams was flown to York Hospital where, he was in stable condition just hours after the shooting, Schmidhamer said. It was unclear where the shot struck Williams.
An unidentified man said he heard the incident called over the police scanner and came to check on the neighborhood, where his sister lives. He saw emergency responders load a man into an ambulance.
"He was screaming in pain," the witness said.
The officer who was dragged by the vehicle declined treatment, Schmidhamer said, adding that he was shaken up by the event.
Schmidhamer did not release the name or police jurisdiction of the officer involved in the shooting, saying it would be up to his individual department or the Adams County District Attorney's Office to do so. Nor would he say if the officer was in uniform at the time.
Gettysburg Police would be handling the drug case, but state police would be working with the district attorney's office to handle the shooting, Schmidhamer said. He added that further information would most likely be coming from the district attorney.
Williams was charged with one count delivery of a controlled substance and was scheduled to be arraigned at York Hospital Thursday evening.
Schmidhamer said the investigation was ongoing and that further charges were likely to be added.
Area residents were eventually notified of the situation, Schmidhamer said. But for most of the afternoon, onlookers were at a loss as to why the residential street was swarming with police.
By 2 p.m., police had surrounded the area with yellow tape. Neighbors watched from porches and street corners as dozens of uniformed and plainclothed officers descended on the 100 block of North Stratton Street, which stayed closed to traffic for several hours.
As the crowd continued to gather, police cordoned off more of the area with yellow tape.
For nearly three hours, police activity seemed to center around the blue mini van, parked off the street with its doors hanging open and its hazard lights flashing.