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Man shoots himself after chase



Published: Thu, January 27, 2005 @ 12:00 a.m.



BEAVER, Pa. -- State police are investigating officers who shot an East Palestine man in his car Tuesday when the man turned a gun on himself after a low-speed chase.

Christopher M. Barr, 21, died from a self-inflicted shotgun blast to the torso, Pennsylvania State Police at the Beaver post said.

Beaver Falls police opened fire on Barr after hearing the blast from inside his car on a darkened, snowy road, authorities said.

The police shots struck Barr's upper back, but it was the self-inflicted wound that killed him, a Beaver County coroner concluded.

The officers are on administrative leave pending the outcome of a state police investigation.

"When the gun went off, the officers, not knowing where he was shooting, opened fire," said Trooper Rick Smith. Smith declined to name the officers.

The pursuit began about 8 p.m. when police spotted a car driving with two blown-out tires.

Police tried to stop the Chevrolet coupe, but Barr continued driving as the car's rims threw sparks and the muffler dragged, state police said.

After more police joined the low-speed chase, Barr's car became stuck on a snowy road, state police said. With guns drawn, police approached the car until spotting a gun. A shot rang out, and police responded with gunfire, state police said.

A search of the car uncovered two shotguns, an open bottle of whiskey and bottles of beer, police said.




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