Society

Cops Respond To Home Invasion, Kill Homeowner

| by Michael Allen

Brenda Thompkins says the police shot and killed her ex-husband, Christopher Thompkins, in their Pittsburgh home on Jan. 22.

The couple was sleeping on the second floor when they woke up and saw an intruder. They jumped out of the bed, and the home invader fled, Brenda told The Tribune-Review.

Public Safety spokeswoman Sonya Toler said that police officers arrived at the home, tried to get in, but believed someone was shooting at them. The police subsequently fired back and killed Christopher.

"They shot the wrong guy," Brenda recalled. "He didn't want to hurt no cops. He was trying to save his mother."

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According to KDKA, police now believe that Christopher fired the gun to scare off the intruder.

Brenda told The Tribune-Review that her ex was worried about his mom downstairs, so he asked for her handgun, which she gave him, and then he left their room.

"He was just saying, 'My mom, my mom,'" Brenda added. "That's all he was worrying about."

Brenda recalled dialing 911, but now believes that the home alarm notified police earlier. She climbed out on the roof, heard gunfire, and was helped down by the police.

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As Brenda walked back into the house with authorities, she saw Christopher's body underneath a blanket on the stairs; another man was handcuffed downstairs.

Christopher was pronounced dead at 4:08 a.m. while the other man, Juan Brian Jetter-Clark, was charged with criminal trespassing.

According to Toler, the police involved in the shooting are on administrative leave, per protocol, and were not interviewed until 48 hours after the shooting.

"There is an ongoing investigation with oversight of the Allegheny County District Attorney's Office," Toler added. "Additional information will be released by the Bureau at the appropriate time."

The Pittsburgh Police Department, District Attorney spokesman Mike Manko, and Robert Swartzwelder, president of Fraternal Order of Police Fort Pitt Lodge 1, all refused to comment.

Beth Pittinger, executive director of the Citizens Police Review Board, was not reached by The Tribune-Review.

The police removed a front screen door that reportedly had six to eight holes, but it's not clear if those were bullet holes.

"He was a good guy, changed his whole life around," Brenda said of her ex, who had been convicted of homicide in 1994, but had his prison time vacated by a court in 1999.

Sources: The Tribune-Review, KDKA / Photo credit: John Marino/Wikimedia Commons

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