Koby Francis, Accused Suspect In Shooting Of McKeesport Police Officer, Taken Into Custody In West Virginia
By: KDKA-TV's Jennifer Borrasso
CLARKSBURG, W. VA. (KDKA) -- Koby Francis, the 22-year-old accused of shooting McKeesport Police Officer Jerry Athans, has been taken into custody in West Virginia.
He was taken into custody on Tuesday at an apartment complex in Clarksburg by federal marshals and will remain at the North Central Regional Jail and Correctional Facility until he is extradited back to Pennsylvania to face charges, the Allegheny County Police Department announced. A warrant was out for Francis' arrest on charges of criminal attempt homicide, escape, flight to avoid apprehension, aggravated assault and firearms violations.
It is not clear who lived at the apartment and how Francis got there.
"We were able to verify that Francis was at this location. We hit the location with a SWAT team just prior to six o'clock this evening," said Harrison County Sheriff Robert Matheny on Tuesday.
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"It was almost instantaneous. When the SWAT team arrived at the apartment, they caught him in custody within seconds," he added.
KDKA's Jennifer Borrasso talked to Francis' mother on the phone and she said she is relieved that her son is OK.
The situation started just before 3 p.m. on Dec. 20 with Francis being served a "Protection from Abuse" order at the McKeesport Police station.
According to the criminal complaint, it was just a short time later when police were called to Harrison Village where "Francis was attempting to get his infant child from a relative who was babysitting."
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Francis left before the police arrived on the scene.
Then, just before 4 p.m. on Dec. 20, police were called again, this time to Yester Square, for a PFA violation in progress. When officers arrived at the scene, they say they found Francis sitting in his Ford Escape outside of a home.
He was arrested. Once inside Officer Athans' police car, investigators say Francis was combative. The criminal complaint reports he attempted to kick out one of the vehicle's windows.
Police say at the McKeesport Police station, Officer Athans walked over to the passenger side to get Francis out of the vehicle. However, that's when the shots rang out. Police say Francis was able to get his handcuffed hands out in front of him.
Officer Athans initially suffered a gunshot wound to the neck. He then circled around to the front of the vehicle for cover. The criminal complaint says "Francis continued firing at Officer Athans, striking him two more times in his left shoulder." Police say Officer Athans returned fire as Francis ran away.
Officer Athans has since been released from the hospital
"I'm glad that it was resolved without further incident," Matheny said. "And our thoughts and prayers from West Virginia are with the involved officer and we understand he's out of the hospital and is recovering. We are real happy about that."
Two people accused of hindering the apprehension of Francis turned themselves in for arraignment in court Tuesday. Daniel Neal and Justine Kenyatta turned themselves in around 11 a.m.
The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosive in conjunction with the Allegheny County police offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information leading to Francis' whereabouts.
KDKA tried to talk to the McKeesport police chief but he was unavailable on Tuesday. The department released a statement on Facebook, saying:
City of McKeesport Police Department would like to thank all agencies who assisted our department on the evening of Dec. 20, 2020. We would also like to thank those agencies who continued to work until the apprehension of Koby Francis on Dec. 29, 2020.
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