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Suspect in hourslong Pittsburgh standoff after deputies tried to evict him is dead, police say


By Danny Freeman, Holly Yan and Steve Almasy, CNN

(CNN) — The occupant of a home who opened fire when deputies tried to serve an eviction notice is dead after an hourslong standoff, Pittsburgh authorities said Wednesday.

“The subject in this incident was pronounced deceased by @PghEMS at 5:08 p.m. EST,” public safety officials posted Wednesday afternoon on X, formerly known as Twitter.

Seven deputies went to evict a man from a home in Pittsburgh’s Garfield neighborhood Wednesday, and several minutes elapsed before they made contact with him, Allegheny County Sheriff Kevin Kraus said in a Wednesday evening news conference.

The man opened fire, and deputies took cover and then fired back, the sheriff said.

After a standoff of more four and a half hours, the suspect was dead, authorities said. “We believe the suspect was neutralized during the gunfight,” Pittsburgh Police Chief Larry Scirotto said.

Pennsylvania State Police identified the deceased gunman as William Hardison Sr.

During the standoff, the suspect fired at law enforcement from first- and second-story windows and through walls, authorities said. The suspect also shot down police drones, authorities said.

“I’m sure as the investigation continues, we’ll learn a lot more about him, the home, the family and the potential issues or volatility that we (faced) today and what led up to that,” Scirotto said.

Chris Wilkinson, who is visiting family in the area, told CNN affiliate KDKA that deputies banged on the suspect’s door and announced themselves before trying to knock down the door by kicking it, then using a sledgehammer. That’s when he heard shots, he told KDKA.

The sheriff said the seven-officer detail was larger than normal but “we had no information whatsoever that this individual was this dangerous or that there were firearms in the house.”

One deputy needed stitches on his head after he was injured during his scramble for cover, the sheriff said.

After the gunfire erupted, police evacuated nearby residents and warned others to stay away from the area.

“Avoid the 4800 block of Broad Street and N. Mathilda Street in the Garfield neighborhood due to an active shooting situation,” Pittsburgh Public Safety tweeted.

A neighbor who was at home across the street from the shooting scene told CNN affiliate WPXI she has bullet holes in her house.

Authorities banged on a door, she said, and “when they went in, I just heard him shoot out. And then it was a barrage of bullets.”

“I … was trying to get down to the basement, but I was holed up in my work office because the bullets were so close,” she told WPXI by phone. “After that, I just was able to make it, crawl down to the basement.”

She said it’s not clear how long she’ll hide. “I’m just hunkering down in this basement in a corner because every time I move, there is just a barrage of bullets just keep firing,” she said.

More than an hour after the standoff started, authorities said they were dealing with a barricade situation.

“Our number one goal is make sure everyone evacuates this area … especially those (who) may be still stuck inside houses like they were this morning,” Pennsylvania State Police Trooper Rocco Gagliardi told KDKA.

During his interview, the sound of apparent gunfire could be heard in the background.

The FBI said it is assisting local authorities but deferred further comment to Pittsburgh police and the sheriff’s office.

™ & © 2023 Cable News Network, Inc., a Warner Bros. Discovery Company. All rights reserved.

CNN’s Jessica Xing, Zenebou Sylla, Raja Razek, Brynn Gingras and Kristina Sgueglia contributed to this report.

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