Police fatally shoot man at Lake Winola

BRIAN WILLIAMS

BY ROBERT L. BAKER

Wyoming County Press Examiner

Police fatally shot a man last Wednesday night at his Lake Winola home in Wyoming County.

Members of the Tunkhannock Twp., Overfield Twp. and Meshoppen police departments and state police at Tunkhannock attempted to serve a mental health warrant on Brian Williams, 42, so he could be examined by a physician.

During the incident, Williams was alleged to have been unruly and was shot with a stun gun, before being fatally shot near Route 307 in Lake Winola.

It is unclear why Williams was shot, but one observer said that he approached police with a fireplace poker.

Williams was pronounced dead by Wyoming County Coroner Thomas Kukuchka, and an autopsy took place Thursday.

Kukuchka confirmed Saturday that the autopsy revealed that death was consistent with a man being shot but deferred further comment to the Wyoming County District Attorney’s office which he said was conducting a full investigation with the Tunkhannock barracks of the Pennsylvania State Police.

Following the incident, State Police set up a command center Wednesday night in the Tunkhannock Borough police station where eyewitnesses to the events leading up to Williams death were interviewed.

DA Jeff Mitchell said Tuesday morning that the investigation was continuing and he would not pinpoint a time when it would be concluded.

Last Thursday the State Police issued a press release that said they were making “no further comment until the investigation is completed.”

According to Williams’ obituary, he was a Mountain Energy truck driver and a member of the Lake Winola Fire Company, where he had served as a mechanic.

Folowing a viewing Sunday night at the Sheldon-Kukuchka Funeral Home a final fire company tone went out over the county’s 9-11 scanner in memory of Williams.

His funeral took place Monday.


  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4NYGU24OBXB636XH7EME4GX53A Sierra C

    If 4 hits with a taser didn’t take him down, pepper spray wouldn’t.

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4NYGU24OBXB636XH7EME4GX53A Sierra C

    I have “first hand info” as well, but I’m not saying what I think about the situation because I was NOT there. I cannot say whether it was justified or not, because I don’t know. I believe it was, because I know the officers involved and I’m confident they wouldn’t shoot without justification, but it’s not like I can get on a stand and say anything for sure… but I was NOT there. It’s that simple.

  • citizen_worry

    That’s why the police should have waited until he came out. Or used pepper spray.

  • citizen_worry

    That’s where you are wrong. I have 1st hand info about what happened and the comments above are quite correct.

  • c0rrupti0n

    Fists are deadly weapons too. If you are within range to get hit by a fist or a blunt object during a 302 call with a mentally unstable person who may be extremely paranoid of police and authority figures, then you aren’t properly trained to handle those situations. They even have nets they can shoot to detain him from a distance. This improper police training for handling mentally ill happens all over the country, and departments have only started training within the past few years:
    http://www.cnn.com/2012/09/23/us/texas-amputee-shooting/index.html

    http://articles.mcall.com/2012-08-18/news/mc-sellersville-police-shooting-mental-health-20120818_1_michael-w-marino-mental-illness-law-enforcement-officers

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4NYGU24OBXB636XH7EME4GX53A Sierra C

    A fireplace poker can easily be used as deadly weapon… what do you think something like that would do if it struck a person’s skull?

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/4NYGU24OBXB636XH7EME4GX53A Sierra C

    Why can’t people just at least wait until the investigation is complete before jumping to conclusions? None of you were there, you have NO right to judge.

  • citizen_worry

    If I were in my house alone and someone burst in with guns, I would certainly think  that I need to defend myself. Now when a person cannot think clearly it is even more confusing to them. From the info I read on the internet the 302 warrant gives police the right to take a person to a doctor for examination and the doctor determines if he needs further care. It does not give police the right to shoot a person and I read nothing about the right to burst into his home pointing guns at him. There are so many other tools they could use to disable a person. Killing another human being that did not even commit a crime or break a law is not right.  Someone should be criminally charged for taking the life of an innocent person that was in his own home, alone and no threat to anyone.  The fact that he was trying to defend himself does not give a police officer the right to kill him. 

  • c0rrupti0n

    The police here are obviously not prepared to handle or deal with those who suffer from mental illness. A gun should have only been fired if this individual risked taking someone’s life. A person with a fireplace poker can be subdued easily without fatally shooting them. If the stun gun did not affect him, then pepper spray should have. If the police do not know basic weapon disarming techniques or even how to retreat, then I fear greatly for all who suffer from mental illness. 

    The next person that get’s 302′ed because of their illness risks being murdered by untrained, trigger happy police. I’ve heard of local police using excessive force against similar individuals during 302 calls and then charging the person with resisting arrest. The police need to learn compassion for these individuals, who may not even be fully aware of what is happening during their involuntary commitment as their judgement and insight is greatly impaired by their illness.They should be sending doctors or paramedics to these calls instead of police, as they are more properly trained to deal with these individuals.

  • Marty Meehan

    This article does not contain enough information to satify public interest; and it seems, since all the parties involveed are known, it is being treated differant than other similar circumstances.
    It would also be interesting maybe enlightening  if the Eximineer would define unrulyness; which is alleged to have occured.
    This delay in reporting the facts could understandably arouse suspicion by the public. They have a right to know!