Family demands justice for man they say was pushed, killed trying to help Beaver County shooting victim

Attorney says officer pushed, killed Good Samaritan trying to help Monaca shooting victim

MONACA, Pa. (KDKA) - One man is dead, and another is injured following a shooting outside the Monaca Walmart on Sunday. The man who died had stepped in to help the shooting victim. The family of that Good Samaritan is demanding justice because they say a local police officer caused his death.

Kenneth Vinyard, 48, rushed to the side of a perfect stranger while he lay bleeding on the ground. And for that selfless act, he paid with his life.

"This appears to be another instance of senseless police violence," said attorney Joel Sansone.

Sansone stood behind the podium Monday speaking for a man who cannot.

Kenneth Vinyard tragically died Sunday night for simply, as Sansone said, helping someone he had never met.

It was around 6:30 when gunfire erupted in the parking lot of the Monaca Walmart where police say Rashaun Smith, 20, was shot in the abdomen by Yeshua Bratcher.

"As the victim of that shooting lay bleeding, a Good Samaritan named Kenneth Vinyard rushed to the victim to render aid."

An attorney said 48-year-old Kenneth Vinyard was pushed and killed by an off-duty police officer while trying to help a shooting victim at a Walmart in Monaca.  (Photo: Provided)

Once paramedics arrived, Sansone said Vinyard stepped away to allow them to do their job.

Then, a man in plain clothes, demanded Vinyeard step away from the victim. The 48-year-old tried to explain to the unidentified man that he was simply trying to help and make his way to his fiancé who was nearby.

"The unidentified man insisted Mr. Vinyard step away and violently pushed Mr. Vinyard to the ground where he struck his head on the pavement."

Vinyard's fiancé began chest compressions while first responders tended to him as he had no pulse. Vinyard was rushed to Beaver County Hospital where he later died from his injuries.

"I've come to learn that the unidentified individual who violently pushed Mr. Vinyard is a police officer employed by the Center Township Police Department," Sansone said. 

Sansone said there are many eye-witnesses, including Vinyard's fiancé, who saw the incident unfold. 

Witness Ryan Beatrice said he saw Vinyard on the ground. 

"He definitely wasn't moving," Beatrice said. "His one leg was bent, the other leg was flat. He was kind of breathing but it was sporadic. That's what caught my eye. I was trying to see if he was okay."  

Sansone also said video from the scene clearly shows the alleged violent shove by the officer.

"We want the name of the individual who caused this death and we intend to sue him and possibly others," said Sansone.

State police confirmed to KDKA they are investigating Vinyard's death. They say they plan to talk to the Center Township officer as early as Wednesday. 

Family demands justice for man they say was pushed, killed trying to help Beaver County shooting vic

Meanwhile, Center Township police are handling the shooting investigation.

On Monday, Yeshua Bratcher was charged with a total of nine charges, including criminal homicide.

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