According to court documents, the man accused of killing one McKeesport police officer and injuring another on Monday afternoon was reportedly suffering from PTSD. He reportedly told witnesses just before the shooting that the police were trying to kill him and asked them to record their interaction with him.
A criminal complaint filed late Monday says that the shooting of Officer Sean Sluganski and Chuck Thomas was caught on video by the people who saw it.
Johnathan Jermia Morris, 31, of 1411 Wilson Street, McKeesport, was arrested and charged with homicide, aggravated assault, assault of a law enforcement officer, and two counts of attempted homicide by the Allegheny County Police Department.
Sluganski, 32 years old, had been a full-time officer of the McKeesport police department for two years prior to his death. Thomas was shot in the face, the neck, and the hand. He later died from his injuries.
As a result of the incident, Morris, who radio dispatchers identified as a former service member, was also injured and sent to a hospital for treatment.
According to the criminal complaint, after being injured, Morris attempted to present himself to witnesses in the neighbourhood as a victim.
As a result of this, according to the complaint, he came dangerously close to shooting a third officer from the McKeesport Police Department, who was the shift commander and was going to the site to help Sluganski and Thomas.
According to the complaint, Morris’ mother, Candace Tyler, called McKeesport police at 12:11 p.m. to report that her son was acting aggressively towards her and experiencing a “PTSD episode.”
Officials eventually named the cops who were shot as Sluganski and Thomas, even though the declaration of probable cause names them as Officers No. 1 and No. 2.
Tyler informed Sluganski upon his arrival three minutes later that her son had fled. According to the lawsuit, she pointed down the street in the direction he fled.
Sluganski notified Allegheny County dispatch via radio at 12:21 p.m. that Morris was strolling on Sumac Street near Craig Street.
He then reported that Morris was on Garbett Street travelling in the direction of Patterson.
Sluganski made the announcement on the radio that Morris was running at roughly 12:25 in the afternoon.
“‘Watch his right hand in pocket, appears real heavy,’” Sluganski said on his radio.
After then, Thomas reported to dispatch that shots had been fired, and he himself had been struck by one of them.
“Got shot in the face, shot in the face,” Thomas shouted, according to archived dispatch recordings. “Get me some help. Get some help, I’m hit.”
According to the investigators, Thomas fired back, hitting Morris in the right leg with the bullet.
According to the complaint, after Morris was initially shot, he rushed along DeLong Alley to the Unimart parking lot on Versailles Avenue. There, he contacted two persons and told them he’d been injured and needed assistance.
One of those witnesses commanded Morris to get on the ground and then began applying a tourniquet to one of his legs.
In the complaint, it is stated that “while witness No. 4 was performing the tourniquet, he noticed Morris pull out a handgun and point it in the direction of a McKeesport police officer approaching them.”
The complaint went on to say that the officer was the shift commander on duty.
When the shift commander, who is not identified in the complaint, arrived at the scene, he discovered Morris lying on the ground in a pool of blood with two other individuals assisting him.
Morris informed the shift commander that he had just been shot and pointed in the direction of DeLong Alley when the shift commander approached. In the complaint, it was stated that “Morris pulled out a handgun and pointed it squarely at (the shift commander)” when the shift commander looked in that direction.
As Morris continued rolling down Patterson Avenue, the shift commander opened fire on him, responding to the first shot that Morris had fired.
According to the complaint, an additional officer came, and the two of them placed Morris under arrest.
Both Sluganski and Thomas were discovered by other responding cops at 1300 Grandview Avenue.
Sluganski was unresponsive, while Thomas was “severely struck in the face and neck and was seriously bleeding.”
Sluganski was pronounced dead at McKeesport Hospital at 12:58 p.m.
According to law enforcement sources, Morris’ mother, Candace Tyler, worked as a McKeesport police officer from 2005 through Oct. 19, 2021, when she was fired.