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A deadly encounter

  • Mike Bester discusses the shooting death of his brother, Robert Kish, 29, late Thursday afternoon at the hands of the state police in Brodheadsville.
    Mike Bester discusses the shooting death of his brother, Robert Kish, 29, late Thursday afternoon at the hands of the state police in Brodheadsville.
Published July 29. 2011 05:02PM

A 29-year-old Monroe County man is dead, shot by a state trooper after allegedly ignoring a PFA order, holding hostages inside a dwelling, starting the house on fire with the hostages inside, ambushing police and striking a state trooper in the head with bird shot pellet from a shotgun, and finally approaching police carrying a bolt-action long gun.

Robert Kish, of 174C Maple Lane, Weir Lake Development, Chestnuthill Township, was pronounced dead at the scene.

The tragic situation began unfolding at about 5 p.m. when troopers from the Fern Ridge barracks of the state police were dispatched to the Maple Lane residence for a reported domestic disturbance.

When they arrived on the scene, troopers said in a release, "it appears that Kish was creating a disturbance inside the residence and causing damage."

Inside the residence was Kish's mother, her friend, and a home health care nurse. Earlier that day, a PFA (protection from abuse order) was served on Kish by the Monroe County Sheriff's Department.

After state police arrived on the scene, a single shot was fired at troopers by Kish "in an ambush style attempt," the report states. "A state trooper was struck in the forehead by what is believed to be a bird shot pellet from a 410 gauge shotgun. The involved trooper sustained a minor abrasion to his forehead and was treated and released from Pocono Medical Center."

Troopers were dispatched to the scene from the Fern Ridge, Lehighton, and Swiftwater stations of the state police. They established a perimeter around the residence.

The state police report, "At some point Robert Kish set the residence on fire, and prevented the three individuals from leaving the residence."

Kish, police said, eventually allowed his mother and her friend to exit the home, but remained inside - while the fire was spreading - with the home health care nurse.

The report states, "As the fire spread throughout the residence, Kish exited with the nurse, but shortly afterward both re-entered the residence. Kish exited a second time, at that point shoving the nurse out of the doorway into the front yard of the residence."

Police said, "Kish exited the residence at that time wearing a backpack and carrying a bolt-action long gun. Kish approached the perimeter and failed to surrender."

Troopers then engaged Kish and he was shot and killed.

The investigation is being handled by the Troop N Major Case Team of the state police, under the direction of Lieutenant Robert R. Bartal.

During the incident, police closed off Weir Lake Road, which is located off Route 209.

Several fire departments and ambulance corps were dispatched to the scene.

Kish's brother, Mike Bester, spoke with media and alleged that Kish might have been high on bath salts, substances which sell for as little as $10 and can cause extreme paranoia and hallucinations.

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett signed a law on June 24 outlawing bath salts in Pennsylvania, but it doesn't take effect until 60 days after the signing.

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