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‘A sad and tragic day.’ Police identify resident killed in officer-involved shooting at State College apartment complex

Mental health warrant led to officer-involved shooting, police say

State College police Chief John Gardner informs the public about the officer-involved shooting that occurred on March 20, 2019 at Marvin Gardens Apartments.
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State College police Chief John Gardner informs the public about the officer-involved shooting that occurred on March 20, 2019 at Marvin Gardens Apartments.

A borough police officer shot and killed a man Wednesday at the Marvin Gardens apartment complex on Old Boalsburg Road, State College police Chief John Gardner said.

State police at Rockview identified the deceased as Osaze Osagie, 29, of State College. Borough officers had been trying to serve a mental health warrant on him about 1:45 p.m. when the shooting happened, Gardner said. He described Osagie as African-American.

No one else was injured, Gardner said, although authorities released few other details about the incident. Members of the state police, Centre County district attorney’s office and coroner’s office immediately responded to the scene, Gardner said.

The involved officers were placed on administrative leave, in line with borough police policy, pending the outcome of an investigation, he said. Borough officials did not immediately disclose the officers’ names and did not take questions at an evening press conference, deferring to state police and the DA’s office.

Police Lt. Greg Brauser cited the ongoing investigation, being handled by state police. In a public-information report released late Wednesday night, state police at Rockview said troopers have collected evidence and conducted interviews.

Investigators processed the scene, where Osagie was pronounced dead, according to the report. An autopsy was scheduled, and more interviews were to be conducted, state police said.

The case follows a series of shootings in January in State College that left four people dead, including the gunman. He fatally shot himself.

“I stand before you with a heavy heart,” Gardner said during the press conference Wednesday. “As you know, this community has been rocked in the past six weeks by incidents that are unfathomable for this community. And for that, my heart goes out to all those victims.”

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State College police chief John Gardner talks to Pennsylvania State Police and Lt. Greg Brauser as an investigation occurs at Marvin Gardens apartment after a police involved shooting on Wednesday, March 20, 2019. Abby Drey adrey@centredaily.com

The latest shooting was confined to one apartment within Marvin Gardens, Brauser said earlier in the day. State College borough Manager Tom Fountaine said the borough is committed to an “independent, transparent” investigation.

“This is indeed a sad and tragic day in State College. Our thoughts, our heartfelt sympathies are with the victim’s family. We continue to have the officers and their families in our thoughts and prayers, as well,” Fountaine said. “Our goal and our commitment to the community is to assure that we have an open, honest and independent investigation to thoroughly understand what did transpire today.”

Nearby Easterly Parkway Elementary School and the Delta Program went into brief lockdowns at the request of police, according to the State College Area School District. Old Boalsburg Road was shut down between Easterly Parkway and Crestmont Avenue for about three hours as police investigated.

Marvin Gardens sits at the intersection of Old Boalsburg and the parkway.

“To be clear, the incident did not involve our schools, and all students and faculty were and continue to be safe,” Superintendent Bob O’Donnell said in a statement shortly before 3 p.m. “At this point, all of our schools have resumed their normal operations.”

District spokesman Chris Rosenblum said the school lockdowns were precautionary and kept students in place wherever they were at the time. Scheduled lessons and activities continued, but nobody was allowed to enter or leave the affected buildings, Rosenblum said.

“We sent initial phone messages, emails and texts to all district parents, then followed up with a similar batch of updates once the lockdowns ended,” Rosenblum said via email.

A public vigil mourning Osagie is planned for Thursday evening.

A school lockdown is a precautionary measure issued in response to a direct or nearby threat. It requires staff and students to respond quickly and comply with rules. Here’s how it often works.

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