District Attorney John T. Adams has determined that the actions of a Reading police officer on July 14, 2022, was a reasonable act of self-defense and defense of another.
Adams says the officer involved was justified in deploying deadly force against Tyvan Maurice Barnett to ensure the safety of himself and another officer. As a result, the officer will not be charged with any criminal offenses in connection with the incident that day.
Pennsylvania law allows all persons, including police officers, to use deadly force in an act of self-defense and defense of others, if the person reasonably believed that he/she faced an unlawful interference that created a risk of death or great bodily harm. In, as here, the person’s actions are privileged under the law of self-defense they cannot be convicted of any crime.
On July 14, 2022, Berks County District Attorney Detectives responded to Muhlenberg Township to investigate an officer involved shooting. The response by County Detectives was pursuant to District Attorney John T. Adams’ protocol to have an independent law enforcement agency investigate police officer shootings.
Summary by the District Attorney’s Office
In the early morning hours of July 14, 2022, the Reading Police Department received several calls reporting a theft in progress in the 200 block of South 5th Street, Reading, Berks County, Pennsylvania. It was reported that multiple subjects were attempting to steal catalytic converters from vehicle(s) parked in and around this location.
Subsequently, Reading police officers responded to the area to investigate and upon arrival they observed three males. One of the males was observed holding a saw and/or car jack, which are instruments commonly used to steal catalytic converters.
Immediately after detecting police presence, the three males quickly entered a black Honda Accord and fled the scene at a high rate of speed. Reading police officers activated their marked police vehicles’ emergency lights and sirens in an attempt to stop the fleeing vehicle. The driver of the suspect vehicle attempted to evade, and a pursuit ensued. During the pursuit, the suspect vehicle’s headlamps were off, and it was traveling at an estimated speed of 100 mph. The pursuit continued throughout the City of Reading before entering westbound Route 422 to the eastbound exit of Route 12. Then, the suspect vehicle exited Route 12 at the River Road exit where it came to a stop after entering a dead-end roadway.
Uniformed officers exited their police vehicle and gave verbal commands to the occupants. The occupants failed to comply with the commands and the driver accelerated the vehicle towards the officer(s). One of the officers was in the direct path of the suspect vehicle. In an attempt to stop the driver from hitting that officer, another officer discharged his duty weapon two times at the driver, which entered the driver’s side door of the suspect vehicle.
The suspect vehicle continued to flee by driving past the officers in their attempt to escape. In doing so, the suspect vehicle struck a second marked Reading Police vehicle which was assisting in the pursuit. After the crash, the suspect vehicle continued to flee onto River Road, Muhlenberg Township. The vehicle pursuit came to end in the 4000 block of River Road as the suspect vehicle became disabled due to previous damage incurred after the initial crash. The driver and rear passenger were taken into custody. A front seat passenger fled on foot and was not apprehended.
The driver of the suspect vehicle was identified as Tyvan Maurice Barnett (25 years of age) and rear passenger was Ejau Collazo (18 year of age).
Barnett sustained a gunshot wound to his upper left thigh. Police officers immediately contacted Berks County Department of Emergency Services and requested EMS. Officers administered first aid by applying a tourniquet to Barnett’s thigh. EMS personnel transported Barnett to Tower Health – Reading Hospital.
No police officers were injured during this incident.
Berks County District Attorney Detectives obtained a search warrant for the suspect vehicle. The search warrant was issued by Magisterial District Justice Carissa Johnson. A search was conducted, and detectives seized seven catalytic converters, a two-ton profile floor jack and a reciprocating Sawzall.
Barnett was charged with aggravated assault, recklessly endangering another person, fleeing or attempting to elude police officer, criminal attempt to commit theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy.
Collazo was charged with criminal attempt to commit theft by unlawful taking, receiving stolen property and criminal conspiracy.