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DA: Late officer justified in accidental shooting death of Blair County, Pa. corrections officer

ALTOONA, Pa. - A Pennsylvania prosecutor has ruled that a late police sergeant was justified in using deadly force that resulted in the accidental shooting death of a jail guard during a hostage situation at a county courthouse last fall.Authorities said an inmate had been taken from the Blair County jail to the courthouse in Altoona for a hearing in November when he allegedly disarmed corrections officer Rhonda Jean Russell. A police sergeant fired a shot at the inmate but hit 47-year-old Russell, a 14-year veteran who was pronounced dead at UPMC Altoona.District Attorney Pete Weeks said last week that the use of deadly force by the police sergeant, who officials said died several months later of natural causes, was justified under the law.

He faulted security procedures in place at the courthouse and recommended changes that officials said have already begun.Russell was one of two prison employees who had taken eight prisoners to court that day, according to the district attorney's office report that relies heavily on a state police investigation requested by the Altoona police department, The (Altoona) Mirror reported. Two sheriff’s deputies were helping the two corrections officers guard the prisoners, but three left to take inmates to prison or hearings, leaving Russell alone with five male inmates.One inmate, who was awaiting a preliminary hearing on gun and drug charges, asked to use a bathroom and after a handcuff was removed was able to "gain full mobility of both arms and hands" and attacked Russell, driving her into an empty holding cell, the report said.The police sergeant investigating the commotion saw the inmate in possession of Russell's gun, pointing it alternately at her and at the police sergeant

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Man charged for fatally strangling woman before shooting himself in face in Northampton, DA says
SKYFOX over a home in Northampton where authorities are investigating after two adults were found dead.  NORTHAMPTON, Pa. - A man has been charged in connection with a homicide and attempted suicide in Northampton earlier in June. According to the Bucks County District Attorney, 35-year-old Thadius William McGrath of Chatham, Massachusetts is charged with 1st-degree murder, third-degree murder, endangering the welfare of a child, recklessly endangering another person and related charges. Authorities originally launched a death investigation on June 8 after police responded to a home on Clark Court for a report of a suicidal person around 5 p.m. PREVIOUS: Police: Investigation underway after 1 found dead, another injured in NorthamptonThe DA's Office says officers knocked on the door and were met by a four-year-old child covered in blood. According to police, the child told officers that McGrath killed her mother and then shot himself. Authorities also say a second child about 1 year of age was also removed from the home. MORE LOCAL HEADLINESPolice say they found the victim, 31-year-old Samantha Jean Rementer, dead on the floor of a bedroom in the back of the apartment. Officials say an autopsy reveals she died from ligature strangulation. McGrath was suffering from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the face from a 9mm pistol and he was taken to St.