HUMMELSTOWN, Pa. (WHTM) – A police officer charged with criminal homicide in the fatal shooting of a South Hanover Township man last month has been suspended without pay.
Lisa Mearkle’s suspension from the police department is effective immediately, and is required by the Pennsylvania Confidence in Law Enforcement Act, according to a statement released Wednesday by Hummelstown Borough.
Mearkle, a 15-year-veteran of the borough’s police department, was charged Tuesday after authorities said she shot 59-year-old David Kassick twice on Feb. 2 without legal justification.
The 36-year-old Mearkle had attempted to stop Kassick for expired inspection and emissions stickers, but Kassick drove to his sister’s home in the 100 block of Grandview Avenue and fled on foot. Mearkle chased him behind the house and used her stun gun, striking Kassick in the back with the probes, then shot him twice in the back as he was lying face down on the ground, according to the criminal complaint filed by state police.
The complaint states that Kassick was not physically aggressive, did not have a gun, and never brandished anything that could have been viewed as a potential weapon.
Mearkle told investigators she fired because Kassick ignored her orders to show his hands and she believed he was reaching for a gun in his jacket pocket.
She performed CPR once additional officers arrived for back-up, but Kassick died at the scene.
Mearkle has been released from Dauphin County Prison on $250,000 bail and is awaiting a preliminary hearing scheduled for April 20.