Abduction of baby ends with Pa. trooper killing suspect

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A 21-year-old Massachusetts man who abducted a baby and led police on a chase from Brentwood to the Pittsburgh International Airport was killed by a state trooper early Sunday morning after he attempted to ram his way through police cars and held a knife to the baby's throat while threatening to kill her, police said.

Jared Brown Garnham of Taunton, Mass., was shot once in the head by a Pennsylvania State Police trooper about 2 a.m. in Moon and was pronounced dead at Allegheny General Hospital.

Mr. Garnham was visiting his former girlfriend, Ashley Spring, and her daughter, 8-month-old Bailey Ferguson, authorities said.

They went to a convenience store along Route 51 in Brentwood Saturday evening in Ms. Spring's Toyota Avalon, where an argument began.

"Things went sour," said Trooper Robin M. Mungo, a state police spokeswoman.

Mr. Garnham took control of the car and drove away with the infant at 11:19 p.m., leaving her mother behind.

Sabo Ajdinovic, who was working at the E&M Pizzeria on Route 51 Saturday night, said the argument happened in the parking lot.

"She ran in the store asking to call 911 because her daughter was in the car with that guy," Mr. Ajdinovic said.

Brentwood police issued a "be on the lookout" alert and the state police followed with an Amber Alert about 1:20 a.m.

Ohio Township police spotted the car in the Neville Island area and gave chase. Mr. Garnham headed west toward Pittsburgh International Airport with officers from Moon, Robert Morris University, Coraopolis and Allegheny County joining in the pursuit.

Cornered on airport property, Mr. Garnham used the car he was driving as a battering ram, attempting to force it through a barricade of police vehicles, police said. At one point, the car's front tire ignited as he was attempting to accelerate and ram through a gate.

Mr. Garnham, wielding a knife, then threatened both the baby and himself.

"He made verbal threats and physical threats toward the officers and the child by placing a knife to the child's throat, stating that he would kill her," a state police news release says. "He also would raise the child up as a human shield against the officers."

A state trooper, who was not identified in the news release, fired a single bullet while the car was along University Boulevard in Moon, striking Mr. Garnham in the head. He was not holding the child at the time, police said. The baby was taken to Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC with what Trooper Mungo described as superficial wounds.

"There were multiple long scratches from the knife," she said. In addition to the fatal gunshot wound, Mr. Garnham had several self-inflicted knife wounds. The trooper said they were not deep.

He did not have a firearm in his possession.

According to the Taunton police blotter, Mr. Garnham was charged in May of 2011 with assault and battery with a dangerous weapon and in May of 2012 with failing to register as a sex offender.

Mr. Garnham's relatives could not reached Sunday evening.

State police and Allegheny County police are investigating.


Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or 724-772-9180. Robert Zullo contributed. First Published December 8, 2013 7:10 AM


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