Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Witness Recounts Fatal Police Shooting in Tight Lower Burrell Neighborhood Wife of Slain Man Had Called 911 about Him

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Witness Recounts Fatal Police Shooting in Tight Lower Burrell Neighborhood Wife of Slain Man Had Called 911 about Him

Article excerpt

Before the fatal shooting, there was a bonfire and music.

Michael E. Hutchman, 33, sat on his front porch listening to music Thursday night, a fire burning in the metal firepit outside his home at 406 Violet Drive in Lower Burrell. He spent a couple of hours out there, at one point with his kids playing outside, before his wife called the police.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said Mr. Hutchman's wife made the 911 call from a neighbor's house, apparently after slipping out. She warned police that her husband had been drinking, Mr. Peck said.

Lower Burrell Police Chief Tim Weitzel said two of his officers responded to the home about 9:30 p.m. for a report that a man had assaulted his wife and wouldn't let her or a child leave the house.

The first officer to arrive parked around the corner from the home and walked up to it, said a neighbor, Lee Cochran.

Mr. Hutchman, a bearded man with sandy-brown hair and glasses, immediately began to shout, said Mr. Cochran, who watched events unfold from his front porch three houses away. Mr. Hutchman, a father of three, yelled at the police to get off his property, hurling obscenities at the two officers while sitting on his porch.

At first, the officers were calm, Mr. Cochran said. They told Mr. Hutchman they just wanted to talk to him, just wanted to understand what was going on.

Mr. Hutchman, wearing only blue shorts and sandals, came off the porch and into his yard. Still shouting obscenities, he walked toward the officers, who were in the street.

The officers' demeanor changed instantly, Mr. Cochran said. He heard a pop that might have been a gunshot from a small caliber gun; he can't be sure.

Then he saw a muzzle flash as one officer fired his own weapon. He saw Mr. Hutchman fall.

"I heard one shot, then I heard 'Don't move!' or 'Don't get up!' and then almost immediately I heard one more shot," Mr. …

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