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DA gets report into fatal shooting

June 12, 2014 News Extra

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BUTLER TWP — An off-duty trooper shot his .380-caliber pistol six times at an alleged suicidal neighbor who showed up at the officer’s home last weekend with an Airsoft gun, according to a state police investigation.

Kristopher A. “Kit” Barkus was hit twice, once in his lower right abdomen and once in his chest, after pointing the gun at Trooper Brian Knirnschild.

The shot that struck Barkus’ chest also hit his spine, state police Cpl. Dan Herr said. That likely was the fatal shot, investigators believe.

The findings into the death of the 25-year-old man, which has been ruled a homicide, are included in a report of the Friday night shooting at Knirnschild’s home on September Drive in Butler Township.

Police on Wednesday completed their investigation after interviewing Knirnschild at the barracks. Later that day, they turned over their report to Butler County District Attorney Richard Goldinger, who reviewed the findings with investigators.

It is now up to Goldinger to determine if Knirnschild was justified in using deadly force against Barkus.

Before meeting with police, Goldinger said that when he reaches a decision, he would release a statement explaining his rationale behind his conclusion.

“I may ponder the report for a few days, I’m not sure,” he said Wednesday. “I’m not going to make a rush decision.”

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