Suspect Shot After Dragging Pa. Officer

March 6, 2011
A 21-year-old York man was shot in the leg by a city police officer Friday night after he tried to flee the scene of a suspected drug buy and dragged the officer with his vehicle

YORK, Pa. -- A 21-year-old York man was shot in the leg by a city police officer Friday night after he tried to flee the scene of a suspected drug buy and dragged the officer with his vehicle, according to state police.

Ernest Bryant Matthews of the 200 block of East Springettsbury Avenue was arraigned Saturday night on charges of attempted homicide, simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, resisting arrest and two counts of aggravated assault. District Judge Daniel Garber set bail at $250,000.

Shortly after 11 p.m. Friday, two city police officers -- in full uniform -- were in an undercover vehicle near the intersection of Church and Edgar streets. They saw a 2008 Jeep Patriot stopped on Church Street and witnessed what they believed to be a drug transaction between the driver of the Jeep and a man standing next to its driver's side door, state police reported.

Officer Brian Kirby detained the man outside the Jeep while Officer Michael Fissel attempted to stop the driver, according to charging documents.

The driver, identified as Matthews, struggled with Fissel and then tried to accelerate while Fissel was still partially in the car, dragging him for about 150 feet, police said.

Fissel pulled his gun and shot Matthews once in the leg, police said. State police Trooper Tom Pinkerton said unspecified evidence indicated the officer was still partially in the car when he fired the shot.

Fissel fell from the vehicle, and Matthews fled, police said.

Fissel was taken to York Hospital to be treated for cuts and bruises on his head and other parts of his body.

While city police were at the hospital, state police said, Matthews arrived seeking treatment for a gunshot wound. He was taken into custody and remained under state police guard while being treated for his wound, police said. Pinkerton said they were unsure how Matthews got to the hospital.

York City Police Chief Wes Kahley said Saturday that, as is routine in such shootings, the officer involved will be on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. State police are conducting the investigation.

"We think that our officer was protecting himself and that the shooting was justified," Kahley said.

On the scene late Friday night, officers from York and Spring Garden Township and deputies with the county sheriff's office had swarmed the area around Church and Edgar streets. Several streets in the area were shut down as police investigated.

Drug paraphernalia was found in the street on Church Street, police said. Officers also recovered Matthews' Jeep on Newberry Street near Maple Street.

Pinkerton said the man suspected of buying drugs from Matthews is cooperating with police.

According to court records, Matthews just got out of prison in December after serving time for a drug charge and false identification for law enforcement.

Shot before

Ernest Matthews had been shot before when he was 18 years old, according to Daily Record/Sunday News archives.

Matthews was shot in the abdomen and foot about 12:42 a.m. March 15, 2008, in the 600 block of South Duke Street, according to city police reports at the time.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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