Deputy involved in fatal arrest try in Knoxville fired after positive test for controlled substance |

Deputy involved in fatal arrest try in Knoxville fired after positive test for controlled substance

An Allegheny County sheriff's deputy had evidence of a controlled substance in his urine shortly after he fired his gun as part of a U.S. Marshals task force's fatal attempt to arrest a Knoxville rape suspect, investigators found.

Deputy Richard Dwyer, 44, was one of two members of the U.S. Marshals Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force placed on administrative duty during the investigation into the shooting Jan. 6 that killed Leslie Sapp.

Dwyer could not be reached for comment. Sheriff Bill Mullen declined to comment.

“Detective Dwyer has received formal notice of his termination from Sheriff Mullen for violation of office policies,” said sheriff's office solicitor Lisa Michel, who declined to elaborate on the violations.

The union representing sheriff's deputies filed a grievance, challenging Dwyer's termination. A hearing is scheduled for Friday, Michel said.

Mullen named Dwyer employee of the month last February for his exemplary investigative work with the task force. In November, Dwyer received a Law Enforcement Agency Directors Award for helping to clear 201 warrants and arrest 134 fugitives.

Mike Manko, spokesman for District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr., said a review of the shooting is pending. He declined to answer questions.

Manko has said that Sapp, 47, was shot seven times with two guns. It's unclear how many, if any, of Dwyer's bullets hit Sapp.

The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office said Sapp died of multiple gunshots in the torso.

Members of the task force confronted Sapp in his Redlyn Street home while attempting to arrest him on charges that he raped a young girl during a three-year period. Pittsburgh police officers were not involved in the shooting but are part of the investigation.

Pittsburgh police Chief Cameron McLay has said the officers who shot Sapp fired to defend themselves when Sapp took a shooting stance while holding what they later determined was a pellet gun.

Bobby Kerlik is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7886 or [email protected].

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