Berks District Attorney clears Reading Police Officer in fatal shooting incident

Investigation finds Reading Police Officer discharged weapon lawfully in self-defense and defense of another.

In a recent press release, Berks County District Attorney John T. Adams announced the conclusion of an investigation into an officer-involved shooting that occurred on March 25, 2024, in the City of Reading. The investigation found that the actions of the Reading police officer involved were deemed lawful acts of self-defense and defense of another individual.

According to the summary provided by the District Attorney’s office, upon arrival, the two uniformed patrol officers met the complainant at the front door of the residence. While standing on the front porch speaking to the complainant, Stern appeared from inside the home and quickly advanced towards officers and the complainant.

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Stern was holding a large knife in his right hand. He raised the knife to the level of his head with the tip of knife pointed at them. One of the officers drew his handgun and gave repeated commands to drop the knife. Stern ignored those commands and continued to advance towards them holding the knife in an offensive position. As he came within feet of the officers and the complainant, the officer discharged his handgun striking Stern four times in his center mass stopping the threat.

The summary says the officer was not only in fear for his life, but also the lives of the other officer and the complainant. The officers immediately radioed for EMS and performed medical assistance to Stern until EMS personal arrived. Stern was transported to Tower Health – Reading Hospital where he was pronounced dead shortly after arrival. No police officers were injured during this incident.

District Attorney Adams emphasized that Pennsylvania law permits individuals, including law enforcement officers, to use deadly force in self-defense or defense of others when facing an imminent threat of death or serious bodily harm. The decision not to press charges against the involved officer was based on a comprehensive review of the evidence, including the circumstances of the incident and applicable legal standards.

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In conclusion, District Attorney Adams affirmed that the officer’s actions were justified and conducted in accordance with the law. “Based upon a thorough review of all the available evidence, I conclude that the Officer acted reasonably and with proper justification in his use of force on March 25, 2024. The District Attorney’s Office will take no further action in this matter” he said.

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Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly
Berks Weekly is an independent and locally owned digital newspaper covering the City of Reading and Berks County. Subscribe today: berksweekly.com/subscribe
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