An endeavor to deliver eviction documents in Pittsburgh over the weekend transformed into a prolonged confrontation lasting six and a half hours between law enforcement and the individual in question. This incident resulted in the temporary suspension of 75 officers from various departments.
Officers from the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office were in the process of delivering eviction papers to William Hardison Sr. in the Garfield neighborhood of east Pittsburgh. However, during this encounter, the individual in question brandished a weapon and commenced firing.
It’s worth noting that the Sheriff’s Office had prior knowledge of Hardison’s strong aversion to the government, which prompted them to deploy a larger number of deputies than usual for this eviction notification.
As reported by Hardison’s son, Hardison was described as an honorable individual and a military veteran who was presently grappling with mental health challenges, experiencing what was described as a “downward spiral.”
Following a prolonged ordeal lasting more than six hours and involving what was estimated as “thousands” of rounds fired, Hardison was officially declared deceased at the scene shortly after 5 PM. Authorities have not disclosed whether Hardison’s death resulted from a gunshot from a law enforcement officer or if it was a self-inflicted incident.
The officers who have been temporarily relieved of duty are not automatically facing disciplinary actions. In accordance with the Department of Justice guidelines, it is customary to place an officer on administrative leave following the discharge of their weapon, pending clearance through a psychological assessment.
Pittsburgh’s Chief of Police, Larry Scirotto, noted that the majority of these officers on leave were members of the SWAT team. They are presently undergoing a procedure to ensure their emotional well-being is appropriate before they resume their duties, with the expectation that this process will likely conclude within a few days.
Residents in the vicinity who were on the scene during the extended standoff described the situation as reminiscent of a “warzone.” Cecil Barry, a neighbor of Hardison, disclosed that he had conversed with Hardison a few days prior to the standoff. Barry conveyed that during their conversation, Hardison appeared agitated and alluded to a sentiment of retribution with phrases like “they’ll pay for this.”
When Barry sought clarification about Hardison’s statement, the latter simply responded with “you’ll see” before departing. Another neighbor observed Hardison grappling with the task of carrying a gun case containing multiple firearms into his residence prior to the exchange of gunfire.