LEWISTOWN - Flanked by sheriff's deputies, a man with a long history of mental illness who was shot by police following an altercation on Feb. 23, along Feeder Avenue in Lewistown, was led into court on Thursday for his preliminary hearing.
Prior to the start of the hearing at Magisterial District Judge Jack Miller's office, Leroy B. Kanagy announced his intention to represent himself, with attorney Michael Gingerich remaining as his court-appointed backup counsel.
Mifflin County District Attorney Dave Molek called three police officers to testify, two of whom were directly involved in the Feb. 23 altercation. The third was the Pennsylvania State Police trooper brought in from Huntingdon County to conduct the investigation.
Leroy B. Kanagy
Lewistown Police officer Jeromy C. Poff was the first to take the stand and describe how officer William F. Roberts Jr., came upon 39-year-old Kanagy that night.
Poff testified that earlier that evening he read on the department's bulletin board, there was an active warrant for Kanagy, which included a description of his car. The announcement also stated that law enforcement should "use extreme caution" in approaching Kanagy.
Poff testified he and Roberts were responding to an unrelated incident that night and noticed a car matching the description of Kanagy's vehicle. He then ran the license plate through the department's database, confirming it was in fact Kanagy's vehicle.
Kanagy was then seen leaving a nearby residence and Poff and Roberts followed him in two patrol cars, initiating a traffic stop shortly thereafter, Poff testified.
Poff testified he approached Kanagy's vehicle on the driver's side while Roberts approached from the passenger's side.
Poff informed Kanagy there was a warrant for his arrest and he needed to step out of his vehicle. Kanagy refused, and drove away nearly striking Poff.
"(He) came very close ... I had to jump backwards and out of the way," Poff testified.
Kanagy had a passenger in his vehicle, 19-year-old Andrew W. Rice who eventually managed to get out of the car and would later tell police that Kanagy intended to go to Harrisburg and purchase weapons to harm police officers and "start a revolution."
Poff testified he and Roberts eventually cornered Kanagy along Feeder Avenue where Kanagy accelerated his vehicle striking Poff's vehicle. Kanagy's vehicle became disabled and Poff gave him several verbal commands to get on the ground, however, he refused and charged the officer several times, Poff said.
Roberts testified the rear-end of Kanagy's vehicle became airborne from the force of striking Poff's vehicle head-on.
Poff said he attempted to subdue Kanagy by deploying a Taser several times, but this was ineffective.
Roberts said he also attempted to get Kanagy to surrender, ordering him to get on the ground, this also proved ineffective.
Roberts testified Kanagy was "hunched over" and "growling" as he began to charge at him.
Roberts said Kanagy then charged at him but he could not see Kanagy's hands and was in fear for his life. Roberts testified he fired two rounds from his service pistol, striking Kanagy twice in the chest and that Kanagy then tried to flee from officers on foot.
Molek ruled the shooting justified.
Cpl. Daniel M. Sneath of the Pennsylvania State Police was the last to testify.
Sneath said he questioned Kanagy at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville on April 11 after Kanagy had waived his Miranda rights and agreed to speak with him. Sneath testified Kanagy was lucid and understood his rights.
Sneath said Kanagy admitted to fleeing from the police and ramming Poff's patrol car.
Sneath testified he spoke with Kanagy about the statements he allegedly made to Rice regarding the guns and his desire to harm police officers. Kanagy didn't remember exactly what he said to Rice, but he did not dispute his claims either, Sneath testified.
Miller bound over Kanagy's case to common pleas court for trial. Kanagy is charged with several counts of aggravated assault and other related charges. A formal arraignment has yet to be scheduled.
Kanagy remains incarcerated in lieu of $250,000 bail.