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DA Stephen Zappala Raises Questions About Officer-Involved Shooting On McKnight Road

ROSS TOWNSHIP (KDKA) -- There are still unanswered questions four weeks after a shootout at a McKnight Road Shopping Center killed one and badly wounded a state agent.

On July 23, the officer-involved shooting happened outside the Big Lots store at Northland Plaza on McKnight Road in the North Hills.

The suspect — 31-year-old Omari Thompson — was dead and an agent from the Bureau of Narcotics Investigations of the Office of Attorney General was shot in an undercover "buy-bust" operation in the parking lot.

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

One month later, District Attorney Stephen Zappala is still raising questions about the time and place.

"You have an active retail center, a daycare center and near a highway that is four lanes," Zapalla said. "If you want to take that guy off, get SWAT and take the guy off at his home. You don't have to put people at risk."

At a press conference today, Zapalla released new information about the incident.


First, a gunshot shattered the state agent's elbow, and his future in law enforcement is now in doubt.

He also said Thompson was being investigated for selling lethal drugs to a person who had died.

Omari Thompson
(Photo Credit: Allegheny County Police)

Zappala said both of those facts make him question the urgency of making the arrest on McKnight Road.

"Explain to me why it went down the way it did?" Zappala said. "I haven't received that explanation yet."

The officer-involved shooting is under investigation by Zappala and the county police.

Earlier this month, Attorney General Josh Shapiro indicated he would await the findings, but defended his agents' involvement in the undercover operation, saying drug dealers often dictate where these meetups occur.

"We go through great pains to not only keep our agents safe but keep the public safe," Shapiro told KDKA.

But while Zappala said it's clear that Thompson fired first and the shooting was justified, he did not hide his displeasure about the way it went down.

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