Residents of New Hope on Friday anxiously awaited details from the Bucks County District Attorney’s office of exactly what happened during an officer-involved shooting Sunday night at the New Hope police station.
The D.A.’s office confirmed on Monday that it was checking into the incident, but had little else to say.
It is not unusual for district attorneys investigating a police-involved shooting to issue limited details within 24 hours of the occurrence. A district attorney typically must attempt to balance the public’s right and need to know with protecting the integrity of the case and due process for all involved.
But in New Hope, a town measuring one square mile in size with little history of deadly force police encounters, the wait for information about what actually happened on Sunday night is particularly difficult.
“I think we as the public, and as residents of New Hope, have the right to know what’s going on,” said Peter Markowicz, who owns the Exquisite Earth jewelry store on South Main Street. “We have a business here and we live here.”
“I’m curious about why it seems so quiet,” said another New Hope business owner who didn’t wish to be identified. “It doesn’t seem like the normal process.”
“There was a lot of speculation; there was very little information,” observed New Hope resident Terry Marks. “How do we find out what really happened and whether this was an unavoidable accident, an argument with a suspect, or a “misdeed” on the officer’s part?”
The Bucks D.A.’s office has so far only said that the officer involved was not injured, and the suspect was hospitalized. On Friday, a spokesperson acknowledged that the man remains in the hospital in stable condition.
But the D.A. will not confirm any details about the apparent altercation, including the identity of the suspect, whether he was in custody at the time, exactly where the incident took place, whether the officer involved has been temporarily placed on routine administrative duties, and even the precise time of the shooting. Local police and public officials have been effectively gagged from talking while county detectives investigate.
A spokesperson for the D.A.’s office on Friday said that additional information on the incident could be forthcoming as early as next week.