York, PA - A Spring Grove man was killed Saturday morning, Feb. 19, 2011, after he pointed a weapon at two Southwestern Regional Police officers, giving them no choice but to shoot him, according to state police.
State police Trooper Tom Pinkerton said Southwestern Regional officers were dispatched to the first block of Campus Avenue about 2 a.m. after receiving a 911 call from family members who were concerned about Terry Lee Alfone, 42, who was inside and suicidal.
When two officers arrived, they were met outside by family members, Pinkerton said. They told police there were firearms in the residence.
Officers tried several times to make contact with Alfone. Pinkerton said the officers banged on the doors, yelled out their presence and called the home. The calls went to the answering machine and Alfone did not respond.
Pinkerton said the officers then "exigently" entered the home, going through the open garage and forcing open the kitchen door. He said they made their way to the back bedroom, where they found Alfone.
Alfone was lying in bed with the covers pulled up to his neck, Pinkerton said. When officers spoke to him, Alfone threw back the covers and sat up, pointing a .44-caliber magnum revolver at the officers, Pinkerton said.
Both officers fired, fatally wounding Alfone. The man was struck in the torso and head, Pinkerton said. Because the investigation is ongoing, Pinkerton declined to say how many times Alfone was struck or whether he left a note.
Alfone did not fire his weapon, which was loaded, Pinkerton said.
Pinkerton said the police had responded at the family's request to provide Alfone any aid he needed.
"Unfortunately, he didn't allow the police to help, and he was fatally wounded based on his response," Pinkerton said.
York County Deputy Coroner Stephen Cosey pronounced Alfone dead at 3:30 a.m. An autopsy is scheduled for Monday morning at Lehigh Valley Hospital.
Because Southwestern Regional Police officers were involved, the investigation is being conducted by state police, Southwestern Regional Chief Gregory Bean said.
Bean said it's protocol for the two officers involved - whom he did not identify - to be placed on administrative leave pending the results of the state police investigation that will be passed on to York County District Attorney Tom Kearney for review.
About noon Saturday, yellow crime tape marked off Alfone's home. Neighbors said they didn't hear anything earlier that morning.
Most didn't know anything had happened until they saw police cars or until police knocked on their doors. Alfone was described by a few neighbors as an avid Philadelphia Eagles fan who lived in the home alone.
According to a state courts website, Alfone had no criminal record in Pennsylvania.
Daily Record/Sunday News staff writer Rick Lee contributed to this report.
Use of deadly force
Prosecutors and state police have investigated several local cases involving the use of deadly force since 2002. In each case, except for Saturday's shooting, which is under investigating, the use of deadly force was justifiable. In some cases, police did not deliver the fatal shot, officials said.
Saturday: Terry Lee Alfone, 42, of Spring Grove died after being shot by Southwestern Regional Police officers inside his home in the first block of Campus Avenue about 2 a.m. Alfone had pointed a .44-caliber magnum revolver at the officers, according to police. State police are investigating.
Nov. 13, 2010: Victor Arvelo, 24, of York died after being shot by York City Police Sgt. Robert Goshen. Arvelo had committed an armed robbery and then pulled a pistol on Goshen and his partner, state police said. The man refused to drop the gun, even after being shot once, according to police. York County District Attorney Tom Kearney ruled Goshen's use of deadly force was justified.
Oct. 24, 2008: Robert Lee, 44, of Harrisburg was shot as he drove a getaway vehicle on Interstate 83 after a West Manchester Township bank robbery earlier that day. State police Sgt. Charles Mory was justified in the shooting, the Cumberland County District Attorney's Office ruled. Lee steered the Jeep directly at Mory as he tried to evade a roadblock, authorities said. Shots also had been fired from the Jeep during the high-speed chase up the interstate, police said.
Aug. 14, 2008: Paul Lomman, 62, of Newberry Township killed himself moments before he was shot in the neck by a police officer who thought he was under fire during a standoff. Newberry Township Police Officer Michael Bosco's use of deadly force was justifiable, the York County District Attorney's Office ruled.
July 7, 2007: Ronald T. Whitaker Jr., 39, was shot and killed at the Springettsbury Township police station. Whitaker had been arrested after taking money from a grocery store cash register and attacking a patron, police said. Officer Gary D.S. Utter found Whitaker hanging from a holding-cell doorknob by his shoelaces, police said, and revived him. Whitaker attacked Utter, according to court records, and Utter shocked him with a stun gun, which had no effect. Whitaker then got a hold of Utter's baton and was reaching for his gun when Utter shot him, according to the police investigation. Utter was cleared of wrongdoing, and a federal judge dismissed a wrongful-death lawsuit filed by Whitaker's family. A year later, Utter was arrested for drunken driving after he crashed his police cruiser into a wall while on duty. His lawyer said Utter's drinking was triggered by the shooting. Utter, who pleaded guilty to DUI after trying multiple times to get into a pretrial diversionary program, was fired from the department.
Jan. 24, 2007: Antonio Sotomayor, 18, was shot multiple times and died after an undercover drug buy with police. Authorities said Sotomayor fired at a state trooper after the trooper chased him onto East Gas Avenue. While former District Attorney Stan Rebert ruled York Detective Troy Cromer and York Area Regional Officer Trent Buschman were justified in using deadly force, the coroner's office ultimately ruled Sotomayor accidentally shot himself in the head after being shot in the hand.
March 10, 2005: Hector Manuel Bello Jr., 19, shot and wounded one of six York County Sheriff's Office deputies who were trying to serve a bench warrant at his home at Parkway Homes in York. Police discovered more than $170,000 worth of drugs stashed in Bello's home. Deputy Jose "Tony" Curet was shot in the arm but fired back, killing Bello. Curet was given an award recognizing his bravery.
Sept. 4, 2004: Yvonne Gouseff, 54, was shot in her West Manchester Township home after a more than 10-hour standoff with police. York County Quick Response Team members Tony Fetrow and Roger Nestor each fired one shot at Gouseff, who was hit once. Gouseff's family said she had struggled with alcohol and mental problems. They filed a civil lawsuit about a month after her death that was later settled for $200,000.
Sept. 29, 2003: York County Deputy Mark Chipps shot and killed Raymond Stanley Johnson III after Johnson fired a pellet gun that resembled a 9mm automatic at York County Sheriff's Deputy David Andress. Authorities said Johnson had previously assaulted two people in the 100 block of South Duke Street in York, and the deputies responded. Chipps fired his .40-caliber sidearm twice, hitting Johnson in the chest with one shot.
Oct. 12, 2002: Clair Bowen, 35, led police on a chase that ended in a parking lot in West Manchester Township. Bowen fired a shotgun at two officers, West York Patrolman Justin D. Seibel and West Manchester Township Police Officer John Hanuska. The officers fired back, killing Bowen.
March 12, 2002: York City Police Officers Brian Lehman and Michael Davis returned fire at Robert Joseph Wise, killing him with a single gunshot wound at the intersection of Jessop Place and Kings Mill Road at the York County Heritage Rail Trail County Park. The officers received a Medal of Valor from the city department for their actions.