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Flanked by Lebanon city police and Mayor Sherry Capello, Lebanon County District Attorney Pier Hess Graf shared additional details on the March 31 shooting that left Lebanon police Lt. William Lebo dead and two other officers seriously wounded.
At the press conference held Thursday morning, April 7, in the Lebanon County-City Municipal Building, Hess Graf shared investigative findings regarding the shooting.
Read More: Card collection box setup at municipal building for Lebanon officers shot last Thursday; DA to provide update today
The findings depict a brutal assault on Lebanon police by Travis Shaud, who Hess Graf said had a long-standing history of mental health afflictions and repeatedly refused treatment and medication, and resisted intervention efforts.
Lebanon police were dispatched on the day of the shooting, Thursday, March 31, to a private residence at 1108 Forest St. on the north side of Lebanon City.
The caller told dispatchers that his stepson, Shaud, had entered his home without authorization. The caller had arrived at his home after work and recognized Shaud’s vehicle parked at the house, and a rear window smashed apparently by Shaud to forcibly enter the house. Hess Graf said that there was no confrontation between the family member and Shaud that day, and that the family member had immediately phoned for law enforcement once he realized what was going on inside the house.
When city police arrived at Forest Street, they met with family members and developed an understanding of the home’s interior, as well as an entry plan. Hess Graf emphasized that the residence had multiple windows, and all officers drove to the scene in marked police vehicles and were wearing Lebanon city police uniforms and badges, making it plainly visible they were law enforcement officers.
Along with police, the family member approached the house and retrieved his dog, while Lt. Lebo and three other officers approached the rear door and asked Shaud to show himself. According to investigation findings, Shaud initially approached police but concealed his hands and refused police orders to show them. He then proceeded to grab a loaded handgun and fired three rounds at the officers, striking Lebo and Officer Derek Underkoffler.
Hess Graf said that Lebo and Underkoffler were not able to fire a single round due to the speed with which the attack unfolded.
Hess Graf and police had previously stated that the gun used to kill Lebo and wound the other officers came from inside the house.
“He was able to grab that gun immediately and his first action was to point and fire at close range,” the DA said.
Hess Graf said that “a large number” of firearms were found in the residence, although only one was used in the assault on the officers. She declined to state how many guns were found when police searched the house.
“Neither man had the ability to defend himself or fire upon the suspect,” she said in the statement. “Neither man possessed the ability to fend off the immediate evil he faced that day.”
Shaud proceeded to fire additional shots at the officers while they took cover and returned fire. Hess Graf said that the officers acted with immeasurable bravery to defend themselves and their fellow officers. Hess Graf said that officers Kristopher McCarrick and Ryan Adams were able to fend off the attack and disable Shaud, whose autopsy revealed multiple gunshot wounds. Hess Graf said that review of body camera footage showed that Shaud had continued to return fire even after initially wounded.
Officer McCarrick acted at the scene to remove Officer Underkoffler to safety after he had been shot, as well as treating Lebo and remaining with his lieutenant until additional help arrived.
Officer Adams, also struck by gunfire, was able to radio for help despite being gravely injured. According to the investigation, Adams stated that multiple officers were shot and requested immediate backup. Hess Graf said that local police departments, Lebanon County probation officers, and the sheriff’s department all responded, and attempted life-saving measures on Lebo until medics arrived, as well as treating Adams and Underkoffler.
“Law enforcement acted selflessly to save their own,” said Hess Graf.
Adams and Underkoffler were transported to Penn State Hershey Medical Center where they received emergency care. Adams has since been discharged from the hospital, while Underkoffler remains hospitalized but in stable condition.
“Every day he gets stronger, every day he recovers more,” said Hess Graf.
The Lebanon County District Attorney’s office and Lebanon County Detective Bureau immediately began their investigation as the incident was ongoing. Their investigation determined that Shaud had fired at least seven bullets at police.
Two of those bullets struck Lebo at close range, and each wound would have been fatal on its own, Hess Graf said.
“Regardless of the efforts made by countless officers to save his life, the injuries Lt. Lebo sustained were beyond repair,” said Hess Graf.
“Every day, with every call, with every scene they respond to, our police officers take that ultimate risk,” she said. “And they do that for each of us.
“Behind every one of your police officers, behind everyone who wears a badge, is a person.”
“The message I want to end with today is simply one of gratitude,” said Hess Graf, reflecting on Saturday’s massive show of support for Lebo and other officers. “It’s gratitude for the people of this community who have supported our police officers and this department, and it’s also to every single police officer, probation officer, and sheriff’s deputy who were on scene that day.”
A celebration of life service for Lt. Lebo will be held Friday, April 8, at Hershey’s Giant Center. Prior to the service, a funeral procession from Lebanon to Hershey will traverse the 13 miles of Route 422 between Christman’s Funeral Home and the Giant Center, with thousands expected to come out to pay their respects to the man whose name will doubtless long endure in Lebanon County.
State flags across the commonwealth have been ordered to fly at half-staff on the day of Lebo’s funeral.
Read More: Funeral procession from Lebanon to Hershey will precede service for Lt. Lebo at Giant Center; public invited to attend
The service will begin at 11 a.m. Friday, with doors to open at 10 a.m.
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