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Man in custody following fatal shooting, standoff

MIDWAY, Pa. — A Smith Township man was arrested and charged with homicide after he fatally shot his neighbor while the victim was cutting the grass on his riding lawnmower Wednesday afternoon.

Washington County District Attorney Jason Walsh said police officers were called to the 10 block of Loffert Road in Smith Township after a person had been shot and the suspect barricaded himself in his house.

The identities of the shooter and victim were not released by officials as of press time Wednesday night.

Walsh said the victim was shot twice – once in his back and again in the back of the head – while he was riding his lawnmower about 2:30 p.m. Walsh did not know the motive for the shooting, but said the neighbors had disagreements between them in the past, although nothing rising to the level of violence.

“Nothing ever to this type of level,” Walsh said. “They did have issues in the past.”

After the shooting, the suspect went back into his house before telling police he would not come out and that he planned to die by “suicide by cop,” Walsh said. That prompted Washington County SWAT officers to respond to the Loffert Road neighborhood near Midway to assist with the standoff after the man barricaded himself in his home.

After police talked to the man for about an hour, he came out of his house without incident and was arrested by SWAT officers about 4 p.m.

The victim could be seen lying outside one of the homes, but medics were not able to get to him during the standoff because there were concerns that the shooter was still armed, Walsh said. The victim was pronounced dead at the scene by the Washington County coroner, who did not release the victim’s identity as of press time. An autopsy was being conducted Wednesday night, Walsh said.

Smith Township police were assisted with the investigation by Pennsylvania State Police.

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