YORK, Pa. (WHTM) – A York police officer was justified in shooting a York Haven man who rammed a stolen SUV into the officer’s patrol car during a pursuit in April, the district attorney’s office said Friday.
York County District Attorney Tom Kearney said Terry E. Diffenderfer disregarded clear instructions to exit the SUV, despite the officer’s weapon being pointed at him, and instead rammed the officer’s vehicle, which then struck the officer.
Kearney said the officer was performing his duty in attempting to alleviate what he believed to be a dangerous situation. He said it is beyond question that the officer’s concerns were reasonable.
Diffenderfer on April 29 stole the SUV from a Royal Farms store at the intersection of Loucks Road and Roosevelt Avenue. The SUV owner, on his way to go hunting, called 911 and reported his 12-gauge shotgun was in the truck.
Police spotted the stolen vehicle and attempted a stop, but Diffenderfer led officers on a pursuit to a parking lot in the 200 block of West Market Street. When one of the officers ordered Diffenderfer to get out of the SUV, Diffenderfer accelerated in reverse and struck the patrol vehicle while the officer was partially outside.
The officer at the same time fired five shots, injuring Diffenderfer.
Diffenderfer, 30, pleaded guilty Oct. 5 to two counts of aggravated assault, fleeing and eluding, theft, and criminal mischief.