Two police officers were injured in a shooting while responding to a false report of an abduction in western Pennsylvania on Tuesday, officials said.
Allegheny County Police said in a news release that authorities were called to a vacant home in the Pittsburgh-area town of North Braddock around 10:00 p.m. after a woman reported her two teenage sons were being held hostage in connection with stolen drugs and money
As officers approached the home around 10:45 p.m., someone inside opened fire on them.
“One officer was struck,” Allegheny County Police Lt. Andrew Schurman told reporters. “The body armor stopped it. He did not sustain a serious injury. He did sustain an injury to his arm. It was non-life-threatening.”
The second officer suffered a head injury possibly from “flying glass or a bullet,” according to police. The officer that was struck in the chest was able to return fire, before both officers were able to take cover.
The incident drew a massive response by law enforcement to the town located about 11 miles outside of Pittsburgh. A SWAT team was checking every vehicle entering the neighborhood and officers went door-to-door to check for any suspects involved, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
As additional officers arrived at the scene, a man was spotted fleeing from the vacant building but authorities were not able to apprehend him. That man, identified by police as 20-year-old Dejon Howard, was arrested around 1 a.m. after he was spotted near a busway.
A SWAT team eventually made it into the vacant home and found two people inside. After being interviewed by homicide investigators they were determined to not have been involved in either the shooting or suspected abduction, according to police.
“There is no reason to believe there was a plan to ambush the officers or lure them to the vacant structure,” police said.
Police said that Howard will be charged with attempted homicide, aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, criminal trespass, and weapons violations. The 20-year-old is currently being held at the Allegheny County Jail awaiting arraignment on those charges.
The officer who was shot told WPXI he responded to the home and someone started firing through a door.
The officer told the television station it was a “long night,” but he was smiling and bandaged up from his injuries as of Wednesday morning.