Indiana County man fires shot, refuses surrender
One shot was fired early Tuesday inside an Indiana County apartment during an altercation between two men, which led to a six-hour standoff with state police in bitter, subzero temperatures, Trooper John Matchik said.
Black tape covered a peephole at Matthew B. Palmeri’s Byron Court apartment in White Township on Tuesday morning, where Palmeri peacefully surrendered about 7 a.m.
“Fortunately, in this case, the victim was not injured and none of our troopers were injured,” Matchik said.
Police confiscated about 10 weapons from Palmeri’s apartment, including assault rifles and semi-automatic shotguns.
Palmeri is being held in the Indiana County Jail on $100,000 bail on aggravated assault and related charges.
According to an affidavit of probable cause, Palmeri and his 27-year-old male friend were doing shots of liquor at Palmeri’s Spring Meadow apartment when his dog, a Siberian husky, urinated on the living room carpet.
“This agitated Palmeri to the point where he grabbed the dog by the collar and began pushing it around,” Trooper Jason Morgan wrote in the complaint.
The victim took the husky and his dog to his nearby apartment, police said.
Upon the victim’s return, “Palmeri was standing in the hallway of the apartment … holding a semi-automatic handgun at his side,” Morgan wrote.
The victim attempted to grab the gun from Palmeri and said a struggle ensued over the weapon inside the apartment, according to police.
A shot was fired after Palmeri regained control, but the victim’s hand was still on the gun. Police said the round went past the victim’s head.
Investigators are not sure if the gun was intentionally fired, Matchik said.
The victim fled and summoned police at 12:30 a.m. He was seen at the apartment complex later Tuesday morning walking two dogs, but declined to speak with reporters.
When police arrived, some residents fled their building and others were ordered to stay in their apartments while officers attempted unsuccessfully to speak with Palmeri.
Matchik said Palmeri may have been asleep while investigators were trying to reach him by phone and public address system. Palmeri surrendered after police made contact with him.
Neighbor Austin Eaddy said Palmeri was considered a hero by complex residents on Sunday. Palmeri broke a window on a sliding glass door and rescued a dog from an apartment fire, said Eaddy and his roommate, Jeremiah McPhearson.
“He was a hero; people were really clapping for him,” Eaddy said.
The roommates said they heard arguing and a gunshot early Tuesday.
“I’m asleep; I think I hear people arguing in my dreams,” Eaddy said.
“I spoke to him (Palmeri) a couple times. I didn’t know he was that heavily armed,” McPhearson said.
According to a biography on Palmeri’s photography website, he grew up on Long Island and became an emergency medical technician and volunteer firefighter.
Palmeri did not have an attorney listed on online court records. He is charged with aggravated assault, simple assault, reckless endangerment and harassment. Indiana District Judge Guy Haberl arraigned him by video at 10:30 a.m. and set a preliminary hearing for Feb. 6.
Renatta Signorini is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.