DA: Lancaster officer justified in fatal shooting

A Lancaster police officer was “clearly justified” in using deadly force when he shot and killed a homeless man who was armed with a knife, the district attorney said Friday.

Lancaster County District Attorney Craig Stedman said 35-year-old Gregory Stephen Bayne lunged at officers with a 9-inch folding knife with a 4-inch blade, repeatedly refused orders to drop the knife and to get down, and posed a significant immediate threat of death or serious injury to officers and others.

“The entire incident would have ended with Bayne being taken into custody had he just dropped the knife,” Stedman said at a news conference. “That's all he had to do.”

Bayne on June 10 was being questioned about urinating in public in the first block of N. Queen Street when he pulled the knife from his pocket and made slashing movements at one of three responding officers, the district attorney said.

Officer Jose De La Torre fired one shot that missed Bayne, who then ran south on Queen Street and into oncoming traffic.

At one point, an officer used a stun gun on Bayne, but it had no effect. Stedman said one witness saw Bayne pull out the Taser prong that struck him, and another reported that Bayne seemed to be taunting the officers.

Bayne crossed the street and squared off with the officers at 52 N. Queen, where a stun gun was used a second time, but missed.

He was repeatedly ordered to drop the knife, but lunged again and De La Torre fired two more rounds, striking Bayne once in the lower abdomen with the second shot, Stedman said.

Bayne died later in the morning at Lancaster General Hospital. No police officers were injured.

Stedman said the officers showed restraint and tried to take Bayne into custody before the fatal shot was fired. He said he now considers the case closed.


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