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City Police Officer Shot, Suspect at Large

County police: Handcuffed suspect had gun, fled on foot

By Staff Reports
The Tube City Almanac
December 20, 2020
Posted in: Crime and Police News

Koby Lee Francis, 22, is wanted by Allegheny County police in connection with the shooting of a McKeesport police officer on Sunday outside the Public Safety Building. (Courtesy Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office)

A suspect who was arrested Sunday afternoon for violating a protection-from-abuse order shot a McKeesport police officer outside of the Public Safety Building, sparking a massive lockdown and search.

The 32-year-old officer, whose name has not been officially released, was in critical but stable condition at UPMC Presbyterian hospital, Oakland, Sunday night.

The suspect, identified by police as Koby Lee Francis, 22, of the city is wanted by Allegheny County police on charges of attempted homicide, aggravated assault, escape, flight to avoid apprehension, and violating the uniform firearms act.

The incident happened just after 4 p.m. outside the Fourth Avenue entrance to the police station. A dragnet fell over the Downtown area and Third Ward following the shooting, as police from multiple jurisdictions — including local, county and state agencies and federal agents — cordoned off a large section of the city.

Police checkpoints were set up on Walnut Street, Lysle Boulevard, the McKeesport-Duquesne Bridge and elsewhere as officers searched for Francis following the incident. Drivers reported being stopped and searched by police.

SWAT team tactical vehicles were deployed Downtown and police in some cases went door-to-door in neighborhoods searching for the suspect, who was on probation after pleading guilty in connection with a 2018 drug arrest.

Allegheny County police homicide detectives are leading the investigation.

A man identified as Koby Lee Francis enters the McKeesport police station on Sunday afternoon about an hour before the shooting. (Submitted photo courtesy Allegheny County police)

County police Superintendent Coleman McDonough said Francis came to the police station just before 3 p.m. Sunday and was served a protection-from-abuse, or PFA, order.

Just over an hour later, McDonough said, McKeesport police were called to a building at the Crawford Village housing complex when a caller reported that Francis was waiting outside the apartment of the person who had obtained the PFA.

When officers arrived, McDonough said, they found Francis seated in a car in the 1500 block of Yester Square and arrested him for violating the PFA. Police searched the vehicle and also found a firearm, McDonough said.

Police said that Francis was violent with officers and combative, and kicked out a window of a patrol car while being transported to the police station. Upon arrival at the station at approximately 4:18 p.m., McDonough said, the officer opened the back door of the police car and Francis produced a second handgun he had concealed.

Francis then shot the officer three times in the neck and torso, McDonough said.

Surveillance video shows Francis fleeing on foot, still wearing handcuffs, county police said. The video shows that although Francis had been placed in the police car with his arms behind him, he had been able to bring his hands around to the front, county police said.

Sources who asked not to be identified said the victim, who has been a police officer for four years, was wearing a ballistic vest. He was taken to UPMC McKeesport hospital and then flown by medical helicopter to Presbyterian, sources said.

Francis is described as a black male, 6-foot-2-inches tall, with a thin build, having black hair and black eyes. He was last seen wearing a black hoodie, camouflage pants and black shoes with white soles.

Police said Francis should be considered armed and dangerous and anyone with information is asked to call 9-1-1.

A search of the city began immediately after the shooting, eventually including officers from the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, Pittsburgh police, United States Marshals and agents from the state Attorney General’s Office and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.

According to court records, Francis was arrested by McKeesport police in 2017 and along with another man was charged in connection with an armed robbery in the city. In 2018, he pleaded guilty to a charge of criminal conspiracy and was sentenced to three years’ probation.

Less than a year later, he was arrested and charged with more than a dozen offenses, including eight counts of possession of drugs with intent to deliver, after an seven-month-long drug investigation by McKeesport police, the Allegheny County District Attorney’s Office and county police that resulted in charges against 70 people.

Court records indicate Francis pleaded guilty in June 2019 to two counts of possession with intent to deliver and one count of criminal conspiracy. He was sentenced by Allegheny County Judge Jeffrey Manning to six to 12 months in jail and two years of probation.

Originally published December 20, 2020.

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