Man shot, killed in standoff with Penn Hills police

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A Penn Hills man died Monday morning after a brief standoff with a patrol officer outside his home, police said.

Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt identified the man as Charles Hull, 56.

Superintendent Moffatt said Hull pointed a gun at the veteran Penn Hills officer, who fired three times, police said, although it was not clear how many shots hit Hull.

Police would not name the officer.

Penn Hills police went to the home in the 10000 block of Calvin Street about 6:20 a.m. Monday after Hull's girlfriend, Yolanda Hornick, called 911.

She told the dispatcher Hull was outside with a rifle and she feared he might kill himself, Superintendent Moffatt said at a news conference Monday afternoon at county police headquarters in Point Breeze.

Moments earlier, Hull had fired one shot in the house, waking Ms. Hornick, although the circumstances of that shot weren't clear.

Hull was inside the house when officers arrived, police said. Six officers approached the house while two closed off the road. Police banged on the side of the house, Superintendent Moffatt said, but didn't go inside.

Ms. Hornick, 57, escaped from a closet and ran outside in the snow in bare feet, where the officers helped her to safety, the superintendent said. After aiding her, the patrol officer "then turns back to face the home and at this time he sees [Hull], who was holding a rifle in his hand, aiming it downward at the officer," the superintendent said.

The 30-30-caliber rifle Hull carried had a scope and looked like one used for hunting, police said.

Ms. Hornick told police she heard the officer tell her boyfriend to "put the gun down" several times, Superintendent Moffatt said. The officer, he said, fired his patrol rifle three times.

Hull was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The officer likely will be placed on administrative leave, typical in an officer-involved shooting, and the Allegheny County district attorney's office will review the case.

The couple had been together about 10 or 11 years, police said. Superintendent Moffatt said Hull may have been upset because he was facing a hearing Monday.

Hull was scheduled to be formally arraigned Monday on charges of aggravated assault while driving under the influence and related crimes stemming from an October incident, according to online court records. His criminal record shows he had a felony drug conviction and multiple alcohol-related crimes, some resulting in guilty pleas.

A neighbor, Joyeeta Dutta-Moscato, said she heard three shots Monday morning. She said the couple moved next door about three or four years ago.

"I would have never seen this coming," she said. "They just seemed like a quiet, friendly couple."

Penn Hills police Chief Howard Burton referred questions to county police. An autopsy for Hull is scheduled for today.

Molly Born: or 412-263-1944. First Published January 27, 2014 9:49 AM


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