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Monroe DA says shooting was justified

Published July 30. 2011 09:01AM

State police were justified in using deadly force against a Chestnuthill Township man on Thursday at his residence, Monroe County District Attorney E. David Christine said.

Christine made the determination after reviewing the facts involving the death of Robert Joseph Kish, 29, whom police shot after he allegedly took hostages, set his house ablaze, struck a trooper with bird shot pellet from a 410 gauge shotgun, and exited the burning home carrying a bolt-action long gun after initially using a woman as a shield.

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

The incident unfolded at about 5 p.m. when state police from Fern Ridge were dispatched to the Kish residence for a domestic situation.

Earlier in the day, a protection from abuse order (PFA) was obtained by family members against Kish.

When police arrived, Kish was allegedly creating a disturbance in the home and causing damage. Inside the house were his mother, her friend, and a home health care nurse.

Kish also allegedly ambushed the responding police officer and shot a trooper in the head with bird shot pellet from a 410 gauge shotgun.

The police officer who was shot with the pellet was identified as Trooper Richard J. Williams of the Fern Ridge Station.

At one point, Kish allegedly used a visiting nurse, who was there for his mother, as a shield. She was identified as Sharon Ann DaSilva.

Police allege that Kish set his residence on fire, and exited while using DaSilva as a shield. He then pushed DaSilva to the ground and continued toward the troopers bearing the large gun, according to police reports.

Police ordered Kish to drop the weapon, but he did not comply. Police said two troopers stopped his advance by shooting him.

An autopsy performed yesterday at Lehigh Valley Hospital by forensic pathologist Dr. Mary Ann Hamill determined the cause of death to be, "gun shot wounds to the torso and extremities with fractures and visceral injuries."

Christine said he concurs with her findings.

After being shot by the bird shot pellet, Trooper Williams was transported to Palmerton Hospital where he was treated for a minor abrasion to his forehead and released.

Troopers from the Fern Ridge barracks were assisted by police from the Lehighton and Swiftwater state police barracks.

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

Interviews by family members with the media allege that Kish might have been high on bath salts, a dangerous stimulant which has effects similar to hard-core narcotics.

Bath salts are in the process of being banned in Pennsylvania.

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