Centre County district attorney: Police justified in shooting man after high-speed chase

State troopers were justified when they shot and injured a man who led police on a high-speed chase, the Centre County district attorney has ruled.

The man acted as if he was going to pull a gun from his coat after his car had been disabled and his capture was imminent on Nov. 21.

Gary Randall ignored troopers’ commands to stand down and later admitted to police that he acted as though he had a weapon because he wanted to die, District Attorney Stacy Parks Miller said Tuesday. Randall suffered a minor gunshot wound to his elbow.

Two unidentified state troopers fired the shots, culminating what was a two-county chase with speeds up to 145 mph that started when an officer noticed the car Randall was driving had been reported stolen and Randall then took off in the middle of a traffic stop.

“They were justified because they believed deadly force was immediately necessary to protect themselves and others on (the) scene against the perceived unlawful use of deadly force by Randall, as he deliberately made it appear to them that he had a weapon,” Parks Miller said in a news release.

Parks Miller said she made her decision by reviewing statements of those involved, videos from dashboard cameras of the police cruisers, and photographs from the scene. The video footage shows the state police officers showed a “great deal of restraint,” she said.

Randall, 53, of Clearfield, faces six counts of reckless endangerment, one count each of receiving stolen property, theft, fleeing police and resisting arrest, and summary traffic violations. He is due in Centre County Court on Thursday for his formal arraignment.

Police said the car Randall was driving had been reported stolen by Enterprise Rent-A-Car in DuBois. Police said Randall never returned the car after his insurance declined to pay for it.

The trooper spotted the car, which had a Tennessee license plate, and discovered it was reported stolen after running the license plate number through a database. Randall was pulled over about 7 a.m. on state Route 970 in Bradford Township, Clearfield County, but he fled as the officer approached him.

He subsequently took police on a chase in Clearfield County on U.S. Route 322, state Route 870 and then on Interstate 80 into Centre County.

The chase ended on I-80 in Snow Shoe Township, about one mile west of the Snow Shoe exit. Randall was passing a tractor-trailer on the right berm of the highway when his car drove over a tire-deflating device that police had thrown down to stop him.

In custody after his arrest, Randall told police, “I know I put a lot of lives in danger” and “I just want out of this world,” according to law enforcement authorities.