Police: Butler man was carrying airsoft gun when fatally shot by off-duty trooper

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An affidavit released today offers new glimpses into the moments before an off-duty Pennsylvania State Police trooper killed a man with an airsoft gun Friday.

Trooper Brian Knirnschild told investigators that he spotted his child standing near the front door of the family's Butler Township home so he went to the door and spotted Kristopher Barkus standing outside with a gun, according to an affidavit of probable cause attached to an application for a search warrant.

Trooper Knirnschild told police he "started to issue commands for Barkus to drop his weapon" and then fired his weapon, according to the affidavit. He struck Mr. Barkus, 25, at least twice in the abdomen and Mr. Barkus later died at Allegheny General Hospital, police wrote.

Trooper Ron Keston, a spokesman for the state police in Butler, said today that what Mr. Barkus carried was actually a Powerline Airstrike 240 airsoft gun, which resembles a Beretta 92FS handgun.

"They are pretty much identical," Trooper Keston said.

State police obtained the warrant this weekend when they sought to search the home of Mr. Barkus' relatives in hopes of finding "any and all prescription medications. Any suicidal notes written by Kristopher Barkus. Any computers, cell phones, or other devices capable of searching the internet belonging to Kristopher Barkus."

In the application, police quoted Mr. Barkus' fiance as saying that Mr. Barkus, who takes medication for depression, left their home on September Drive angry the night of the shooting. "He made comments when he was leaving his residence that he was going to jump off a bridge," police wrote.


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