Pennsylvania State police determined that a trooper used the appropriate level of force when he shot and killed a Columbia man in March, according to a state police spokesman.
Corporal Richard Dean told Patch on Thursday that state police had closed the case and found that Trooper Marshall Kephart was facing an attack when he shot and killed Daryl Berry on March 6. The shooting occurred on the turnpike in Brush Creek Township in south-central Pennsylvania.
Dean said that the Fulton County District Attorney's office, which also investigated the shooting, agreed with the state police's findings. Fulton County DA Travis Kendall did not respond to a request for comment on Monday. Dean said the report of the police's internal investigation would not be released.
Police said Berry, 45, had attacked Kephart with a metal flashlight after releasing his two Rottweiler dogs when Kephart responded to the scene of an accident involving Berry and two tractor trailers. Police said Kephart shot Berry three times, killing him.
Since Berry's death, his mother, Dr. Joyce Hamilton Berry, of Columbia, has questioned the police's version of events. She said her son, who had a degree in electrical engineering and owned a handyman business, had no history of violence, that his dogs were not trained to be aggressive, and wondered why the situation escalated so quickly after a traffic accident.
Police said Kephart's dashcam video recorder was malfunctioning and did not record the incident. State police declined to release information, such as 911 recordings or police reports from the incident while the case was under investigation.
In July, the coroner who conducted Daryl Berry's autoposy found that Berry had no drugs or alcohol in his system at the time of his death. A witness of the incident, Boyd Kreider, who was reportedly at the scene, told Patch he saw a struggle and that the police officer "was just doing his job."
Berry's mother said Monday police had not contacted her yet to tell her their investigation had concluded.
"As usual, they haven't notified me," said Joyce Berry. "They're not notifying me that the investigation has closed, even though I've tried to call the District Attorney, Travis Kendall, and the chief counsel of the state police to get more information."
Berry said previously she had to call the Pennsylvania State Police after she heard from her son's girlfriend that Daryl had been shot and killed to confirm that it happened.
"That's par for the course," Berry daid. "It speaks volumes about the Pennsylvania State Police. That's just the way they conduct business."
When asked if she was surprised by the Pennsylvania State Police's determination regarding her son's death, Berry said, "I did not expect them to do anything less than that."
Daryl Berry had grown up in Columbia and lived in the city before moving to Cincinnati to run his handyman business, according to his mother. When Berry was killed, he was returning to Cincinnati from Columbia where he had visited family, his mother said.
- Report: No Drugs or Alcohol Found in Body of Man Killed by Trooper
- Columbia Psychologist Questions Police Shooting of Son
- Columbia Man Killed By Pennsylvania State Trooper
- Trooper's Name Released in Turnpike Shooting Death
- No Dash Cam Footage from Pennsylvania Turnpike Shooting