Officer Shot Man Who Was Handcuffed in Police Car

Amanda Cozio said she watched a Southwestern Regional Police officer shoot a man at close range as the man sat handcuffed in the back of a police car outside a Spring Grove bank Wednesday afternoon.

“He didn’t even warn him,” the 25-year-old Hanover woman said. “He pulled his gun out and shot … No warning, nothing. The guy didn’t do anything. He was sitting there … For him to be handcuffed and sitting down, why?”
Cozio, who said she cleans the Santander Bank after closing, watched from her car as the incident unfolded in the bank’s parking lot at 39 W. Hanover St.

After the man — identified later on Thursday as a 33-year-old Spring Grove man — was shot in his leg, she said, he fell to the ground. Officers then donned gloves and cut off his pants to render aid until an ambulance arrived.

Southwestern Regional Police arrest a man outside a Spring Grove bank on Wednesday, just prior to the man being shot by an officer, according to witness Amanda Cozio.

According to Pennsylvania State Police, Southwestern Regional Police were called to the bank for a “disturbance call.”

While Southwestern Regional Police were there, “an officer fired his service pistol and struck the subject.” The man was then taken to York Hospital for treatment, state police said.

An initial news release noted that the man was in stable condition at the hospital.

Background: Here is a rundown of cases in which York County, Pa., police were involved in shootings
Police have not named the man who was shot or the officer who fired the shot.

When asked if the man arrested at the bank was handcuffed, Trooper James Spencer said Thursday, “At this time, we’re not confirming any information. It’s still an active investigation.”

Southwestern Regional Police Chief Greg Bean said Thursday the two officers had been placed on administrative leave, as department protocol dictates.

“Because of a department officer has used force, those cases are turned over to an outside agency to investigate,” Bean said. “In this case it’s the state police and so any questions just have to be directed to them because they are taking the lead here.”
What Cozio saw
Cozio, who works for a contractor hired by Santander Bank, said she arrived about 5:10 p.m., because the bank closes at 5. But when she pulled into the parking lot, she saw Southwestern Regional Police cruisers and decided to stay in her car.

A Pennsylvania State Police news release states that “responding officers encountered a male subject inside of the bank that resulted in a confrontation.”

Two Southwestern officers then emerged from the bank with the man, who had a red bandana around his neck, Cozio said.

“I seen them bring a gentleman out in handcuffs,” she said. “They walked him over to the car, slammed him on the side of the police cruiser and searched him.”

Cozio said she did not see police seize anything from the man. Although the man was not physically resisting police, everyone was yelling — the man, the two police officers and a woman who was standing just feet from them.
The woman yelled over and over, “He’s not in his right state of mind, you don’t understand,” Cozio said.
At that point, the man was placed in the back of a Southwestern Regional Police car, but with his legs out and his feet on the ground. The car’s rear door was open, she said.

“And they shot him,” Cozio said. “They shot him in the back of the car … while he was sitting down in the back of the cruiser … I don’t understand how this could happen.”
Story continues after this gallery of images from the investigation.

Shooting aftermath
The man, who had been seated in the cruiser, fell to the ground after he had been shot, Cozio said.
The woman who had been screaming then yelled at police, “You didn’t have to shoot him, why did you shoot him? He’s not in his right state of mind,” according to Cozio.

Cozio, who had been inside her car, then got out and walked over to the woman to calm her down.
“I worried about, ‘Let’s get (her) back, so they don’t shoot her,” Cozio said. “She was crying and shaking.”
The woman then called York County 911 and asked for “regional police,” Cozio said.

The two Southwestern Regional officers then stood in the grass and the woman got into a parked car, driven there by someone else.

A man then arrived and asked, “Who shot my son?” Cozio said she pointed to an officer and said, “Him right there.” The man then approached the officer and asked him, “Why did you shoot my son in handcuffs?” but the officer did not say anything, she said.

Other officers arrived, spoke with the man, and he stopped yelling, Cozio said.
Cozio said Thursday morning she was still shaken from witnessing the incident, still trying to process what she had seen.

“Whatever he did inside the bank wasn’t right, but he didn’t deserve this,” she said.