Chuck Ross, DCNF
- John Fetterman, the Pennsylvania lieutenant governor and Senate candidate, is defending pulling a shotgun on an unarmed black jogger in 2013, claiming he feared another school shooting at the time.
- Fetterman was mayor of Braddock, Pa., when he chased a jogger in his truck who he thought had fired rifle shots near his home. Police searched the man but found him unarmed and adorned in jogging gear.
- Fetterman has claimed that he pulled the shotgun out of concern that the man was going to shoot up a nearby school, even though the encounter occurred on a Saturday afternoon.
- Fetterman has declined to apologize for the incident.
Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman this week defended pulling a shotgun on an unarmed black jogger more than eight years ago, saying that he thought the man had fired off a gun and might shoot up a nearby elementary school.
But a police report of the incident shows it occurred on a Saturday afternoon.
On Jan. 26, 2013, Fetterman, who announced his candidacy for U.S. Senate on Monday, chased down Chris Miyares in his pickup truck and pulled a shotgun on the man after he heard what he thought were rifle shots.
According to the police report, obtained by The Daily Caller News Foundation, Fetterman said he did not see Miyares holding or shooting a gun.
Police searched Miyares, who is black, and found no weapons, according to the police report. The report was first cited by The New York Times in a storypublished Tuesday.
The police report says that Miyares was wearing jogging attire and headphones. He was also “very cooperative” with police, but was “upset” that Fetterman had pulled a shotgun on him.
Fetterman, who was mayor of Braddock at the time of the incident, invoked the Sandy Hook elementary school massacre in his defense of the encounter this week.
Fetterman told Fox43 in Pittsburgh that he sprung into action after he heard what he thought were gunshots then saw a man “heading towards our elementary school in town a couple weeks after the Sandy Hook child massacre.”
“I made that split-second decision to intercept him,” Fetterman said in the interview.
“No one who examines the underlying details…would think that it was anything other than me responding in an emergency situation to stop a potential, another, school shooting,” he added.
In a campaign video Fetterman published just before The New York Times story came out, the Democrat said that he saw “an individual dressed entirely in black and a face mask who was running from that scene in the direction of our elementary school.”
“This was a few weeks after the Sandy Hook child massacre.”
Fetterman said he “made a decision at that point to intervene to stop him from going any further until the first responders could arrive.”
Fetterman also claimed in a statement to The Philadelphia Inquirer that he remained in his truck, a Ford F-150, while he confronted Miyares.
“I stayed in my truck and never came in physical contact with the individual. I had my shotgun, but it was never pointed at the individual, and there wasn’t even a round chambered,” Fetterman told the newspaper.
The police report suggests that Fetterman did not remain in his vehicle during the encounter.
“We noticed that in his right hand he was holding a black shotgun and his truck was parked in the middle of the street,” the police report says.
“Fetterman continued to yell and state that he knows this male was shooting, but did not see Miyares holding a gun nor shooting a gun.”
According to the police report, as well as a contemporaneous news report by WTAE, police encountered Fetterman and Miyares in front of Ben Fairless elementary school.
It is not clear whether the school held classes on Saturdays, or after traditional school hours. There is no mention in the police report of school being in session or of children being present. The school closed in 2016.
Fetterman’s campaign did not respond to requests about the apparent discrepancy in his story.
Fetterman has consistently claimed he heard around a dozen gunshots from a high-powered rifle near his house. According to his account, he took his son inside his house, called the police, and hopped in his pickup to follow a man he said was running from the direction of the gunfire.
Fetterman has denied pointing the gun at Miyares but said that he showed it to the jogger in order to keep him at the scene until police arrived.
The police report says that “Fetterman stated that…he pulled the shotgun on [Miyares] so he would stop.”
Fetterman remains defiant about his actions, saying that his political opponents have been shopping the story around and that he does not believe Miyares.
“I’ve never conceded that his side of the story was the truth. He claimed there were fireworks, and there was no evidence of footprints found where he claimed the kids were,” he said Wednesday.
While Fetterman says he doubts Miyares’s story because no fireworks were discovered, there have been no other news reports that bullet casings were found where Fetterman says a gun was fired. The police report does not say whether officers checked for bullet casings.
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