Unarmed Uniontown fugitive shot as U.S. marshals try serving arrest warrant
A Westmoreland County man didn’t have a firearm when he was shot in the shoulder as a fugitive task force attempted to serve him with an arrest warrant in Uniontown, police said Tuesday.
Police said Casey McDonald, 30, was shot as he tried to flee out a second-story window from a U.S. Marshals Service task force team just after 8 a.m. Monday.
Officers found a knife in the bedroom from which McDonald attempted to escape at 9 Nutt Ave., but no firearms or illicit drugs, said Lt. Tom Kolencik of Uniontown police.
Casey was wanted for an alleged parole violation when members of the Western Pennsylvania Fugitive Task Force served an arrest warrant at his apartment, authorities said. He initially was charged with a drug violation in 2007.
McDonald was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital, where he remained in stable condition Tuesday, Kolencik said. The team member who fired the shot was unhurt but was evaluated at Uniontown Hospital.
Nikki Credic-Barrett, a spokeswoman with the U.S. Marshals Service, said hospital evaluations are required in an officer-involved shooting. She declined to release the employee’s name, citing the ongoing investigation.
Kolencik said city police, who are handling the investigation, have not yet interviewed the marshal who fired the shot. The marshal has as long as 72 hours to make a statement, he said.
“There’s a lot of internal trauma that an officer goes through,” Kolencik said. “That’s for his well-being. None of us wakes up in the morning and thinks we’re going to take someone’s life.”
Kolencik said police have determined that seven task force members went to the house to serve the warrant. He said four were let inside by McDonald’s girlfriend, Alexandria Rosano, 28.
Two marshals were stationed outside the house. The seventh remained inside a vehicle with another prisoner in an unrelated case, Kolencik said.
As the four marshals went to McDonald’s bedroom, they heard a single gunshot, Kolencik said. They entered the bedroom, where they found McDonald, injured and alone.
Kolencik said the gunshot was not self-inflicted, although one of the marshals mistakenly called it in to 911 as an attempted suicide.
He would not comment on whether one of the marshals who was standing outside the house fired the shot that struck McDonald.
“That’s under investigation,” Kolencik said.
McDonald was on the U.S. Marshals Service’s list of most-wanted fugitives in the Pittsburgh area.
A former girlfriend, a Uniontown woman, sought a protection-from-abuse order against him in 2012, alleging McDonald threatened to kill her. A judge dismissed the request when the woman failed to appear for a hearing.
Court records show McDonald works as a handyman and has 10 children — so many he couldn’t recall the last name of one of them during a hearing on his drug case, according to court documents. He told a judge he served a six-month stint in the Army before he was medically discharged because his “back and knees are screwed up.”
Attempts to reach McDonald or family members were unsuccessful.
McDonald was paroled to Alle-Kiski Pavilion in Arnold in November 2013 after serving a state prison sentence on a drug charge, court records show. He pleaded guilty to selling 20 oxycodone tablets for $80 to a confidential informant in Uniontown in 2007.
The drug charge was McDonald’s only scrape with the law in Pennsylvania, according to court records.
He served a portion of a one- to two-year jail sentence, then was placed on two years’ probation. His probation was revoked, and he was resentenced to state prison in 2013 for failing to report to his probation officer. McDonald told a judge he missed the meetings because he had “trouble making appointments,” according to court records.
Kolencik had no information as to why McDonald was on the most-wanted list, other than the fact he had eluded authorities for more than a year.
“I can only speculate it would be the length of time on this one,” Kolencik said.
McDonald was wanted on the arrest warrant, issued by the Pennsylvania Board of Probation and Parole, since Jan. 11, 2014.
Kolencik said the investigation is pending results of forensics tests and interviews, but no charges are anticipated against McDonald or Rosano.
Liz Zemba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-601-2166 or [email protected].