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75 officers on leave after 'thousands' of shots fired in Garfield standoff

75 officers on leave after 'thousands' of shots fired in Garfield standoff
75 officers on leave after 'thousands' of shots fired in Garfield standoff 03:52

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Dozens of officers are on leave after an hourslong shootout where thousands of shots were fired in Pittsburgh's Garfield neighborhood on Wednesday. 

Pittsburgh police said 47 of their officers are on administrative leave per protocol. Police Chief Larry Scirotto said at a news conference Thursday that the officers will go through a process to make sure they're in an "emotional state of mind" before they can return in a few days.

The majority of personnel affected are SWAT officers, Scirotto said. In the meantime, the city's law enforcement partners will cover any tactical issues. 

Sixteen deputies from the Allegheny County Sheriff's Office are also on leave. The shootout started when deputies went to the home on Broad Street to serve an eviction notice. Sheriff Kevin Kraus said it took several minutes to make contact with the suspect, 63-year-old William Hardison, and when they did, he said Hardison immediately opened fire.  

Allegheny County Police Superintendent Chris Kearns said 12 of their officers are on leave as well. 

Scirotto said that every attempt to communicate with Hardison was met with either silence or gunfire. He said "thousands" of shots were fired, but didn't know the exact number yet. 

Hardison was found dead six hours after the standoff started, but Scirotto still can't say whether he was killed by gunfire or a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Neighbors said they felt like they were in the middle of the warzone during the shootout. Cecil Barry, who lives a few doors down, said he had a conversation with Hardison a few days ago and had no idea his quiet neighborhood would soon turn into a nightmare. 

"He was telling me that, 'They're gonna pay for this,' and I'm like, 'Who? Everyone on this street is cool.' He said, 'You'll see.' And then he walked away," Barry said.

The amount of ammunition and even weapons used by the suspect is still under investigation by state police. Although neighbors say they had no idea what kind of stockpile Hardison may have been sitting on, Cheryl Patterson says she saw him with a gun case which she says contained more than one rifle.  

"It was heavy, he was struggling from across the street to his house to get it into his house," Patterson said. 

The Pennsylvania State Police are handling the investigation. Usually when Pittsburgh police are involved in a shooting, they're investigated by Allegheny County police, per protocol. But since county police were also involved, state police are investigating, Scirotto said. 

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