ELKLAND TOWNSHIP — A spokesperson for Pennsylvania State Police confirmed on Thursday that two state troopers were placed on administrative leave after the troopers fired their service weapons killing Kevin Michael Norton, 60, at his residence in Elkland Township while serving a warrant for his arrest on Friday morning.
State Police said that putting troopers on administrative leave was protocol for any troopers during an investigation of their use their weapons in the line of duty. Administrative leave takes the troopers out of involvement with investigations and fieldwork but allows the troopers to continue to work in the Laporte barracks. It is commonly referred to as desk duty. As long as the investigation of the incident on Friday morning does not find wrongdoing on the troopers’ involvement, the troopers will be taken off administrative leave once the investigation is complete, state police said.
The troopers arrived at 521 Cott’s Road in Elkland Township at approximately 10:30 a.m. on Friday morning to place Norton under arrest after he did not report to the Columbia County Correctional Facility for a sentence of six to 23 and a half months as ordered by a Sullivan County court.
Norton was originally arrested on multiple felony charges in connection with the theft of multiple items from a nearby cabin but pleaded guilty to only a misdemeanor charge of theft after an agreement was made with the Sullivan County District Attorney’s office. Despite the District Attorney and Norton’s counsel agreeing to a sentence of probation during the original sentencing, the court ordered Norton to report to jail to serve his sentence.
Norton filed appeals to the court and a Pennsylvania Superior Court asking for continued bail or a sentence of house arrest due to his compromised health and age that would pose him to risk of death if he were to contract the COVID-19 virus at the prison. Norton received support from the District Attorney’s office, his family, the Forksville community, and the victims of the crime in seeking a sentence of probation court documents showed. The appeals were denied by Sullivan/Wyoming County President Judge Russell D. Shurtleff and the Superior Court.
Accompanying the troopers on Friday morning were Sullivan County Sheriff Bobby Montgomery and Chief Deputy Daniel Strailey, state police said.
State Police told the Review that the law enforcement officers identified themselves as police officers when they arrived at Norton’s residence. Norton was located inside of his garage where he was working on a tractor.
In making contact with Norton, police spotted a shotgun inside the garage and told Norton not to reach for it.
According to police, Norton then reached for the shotgun and “leveled” it towards law enforcement. It was then that police fired their weapons at Norton.
Police said Norton did not fire his weapon.
Norton was pronounced dead in an ambulance by Sullivan County Coroner Wendy Hastings at 11:16 a.m. Hastings said that Norton died of multiple gunshot wounds.
A representative for the Sullivan County District Attorney’s office told the Review that the office is investigating the incident along with State Police but that the office will not comment on any open investigations. District Attorney Leonard Simpson will make the decision on if the troopers’ shooting was justified and whether to press charges.