District attorney's office reviewing McKeesport arrest

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The Allegheny County District Attorney's office is reviewing an arrest in McKeesport after a sergeant's gun accidentally fired while taking a man into custody, police said.

Andre L. Johnson, 25, of McKeesport was pulled over for a traffic violation on Beech Street at 1:15 a.m. March 9, McKeesport police Chief Bryan Washowich wrote in a prepared statement.

Chief Washowich said Mr. Johnson did not follow the sergeant's instructions and reached toward his pockets. The sergeant took out his gun, fearing Mr. Johnson was armed, he said.

The officer smelled marijuana when Mr. Johnson rolled his window down about three inches and spotted the drug on the center console, the chief said. After being told several times to shut off the car and place the keys out the window, Mr. Johnson complied, though the two struggled as the sergeant tried unlocking the door and Mr. Johnson continued pressing the lock button, he said.

Mr. Johnson hit the officer's shoulder with the door when he opened it, Chief Washowich said. The officer's weapon was drawn. When the sergeant tried to detain Mr. Johnson, they fell and the gun hit the ground while still in the officer's hand and fired an "accidental round," he said.

The sergeant reported that the shot did not graze Mr.Johnson, but that he sustained an abrasion on his head, the chief said.

The district attorney's office received the request to review the arrest Tuesday from Chief Washowich, spokesman Mike Manko said. McKeesport police are also conducting a review.

Mr. Johnson was charged with aggravated assault, disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, fleeing or attempting to elude police, and drug and traffic violations, according to court documents. He was unable to be reached for comment Wednesday night.

Lexi Belculfine: lbelculfine@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1878. Twitter: @LexiBelc.

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