PSP troopers identified after fatal shootout with armed suspect: officials

Officials are expressing shock and sadness at the death of one state trooper and the critical wounding of another hours apart in central Pennsylvania over the weekend.

Police in Juniata County said a man engaged troopers at about 12:45 p.m. Saturday near the Lewistown barracks and shot one trooper, who was taken to a hospital with serious injuries. Authorities found the man shortly before 3 p.m. several miles away in Walker Township, and a gun battle ensued that killed the shooter and a trooper, police said.

Trooper Jacques F. Rougeau Jr., 29, was killed in the gunfire and Lieutenant James A. Wagner was critically wounded in the separate encounters.

Officials said the shooter is identified as 38-year-old Brandon Stine, of Thompsontown, in Juniata County. Stine drove his truck into the parking lot of the Lewistown barracks in Juniata County about 11 a.m. Saturday and opened fire with a large-caliber rifle on marked patrol cars before fleeing, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner Christopher Paris said Sunday.

Trooper Jacques F. Rougeau Jr.

Stine was identified shortly after the shooting, and a search began for him, he said.

Lt. Col. George Bivens, deputy commissioner of operations, who went up in a helicopter to coordinate the search, said Stine appeared to be playing a "cat and mouse" game — calling 911 to give a location and then not being there when they arrived.

"He seemed to be setting our people up for potential ambush," Bivens said.

Wagner encountered Stine in Mifflintown about 12:45 p.m. Saturday and was shot and critically wounded, Paris said. People in the area went to his aid and used his radio to call for help, and emergency medical personnel arrived and took him to Lewistown Hospital, from which he was flown to Hershey Medical Center.

Later, Rougeau was ambushed and killed by a gunshot through the windshield of his patrol car as he drove down a road in nearby Walker Township, Bivens said. Police only found out that Rougeau had been shot immediately after the manhunt ended, and "he was beyond assistance at that point," Bivens said.

Stine then escaped into a somewhat rural but still residential area and was seen driving through a field toward a store and small restaurant with patrons in the parking lot, Bivens said. Troopers put themselves in between the people and the suspect and forced him away from the business. After an exchange of gunfire, he drove through a yard and garden, finally getting stuck against a row of trees as police continued to engage him, Bivens said.

"What I witnessed ... was one of the most intense, unbelievable gunfights I have ever witnessed," Bivens said, lauding troopers for launching an aggressive search despite the fact that they were facing a weapon that "would defeat any of the body armor that they had available to them."

Rougeau, who was married, would have marked his third anniversary with the department later this month, officials said. Wagner, a 21-year veteran, is currently commander of the Bedford barracks, is a naval reservist and has three sons in the Coast Guard, officials said.

"At this point, there are no clear motives we can point to," Paris said. "I’m struck by the level of violence … and I remain humbled and in awe of the way that our people rallied and brought the resources needed to bear to protect the community."

Gov. Josh Shapiro and Col. Christopher Paris, Commissioner of the PSP, were at the hospital where Wagner was being treated, state police said. Shapiro later said in a social media post that Wagner was in critical but stable condition and he and the commissioner thanked his colleagues for their service and prayed for his recovery.

The governor said he and first lady Lori Shapiro "send our love to the family of the trooper killed today. May his memory be a blessing."

"This is a tragedy for the Pennsylvania State Police," said Colonel Paris. "We ask for your continued prayers for not only our Troopers, but also their families."

The Fraternal Order of Police Pennsylvania State Lodge said it was "devastated" at the shooting of "not one but two" troopers, one of whom made "the ultimate sacrifice."

"Bravery and honor best describe these troopers, and we will hold their heroic actions in our hearts and minds forever," the lodge's president, Joseph Regan, said in a social media post.

President David Kennedy of the Pennsylvania State Troopers Association, an organization made up of 4,300 active and retired troopers, said the commonwealth "has lost one hero while another fights for his life."

"The bravery of these Troopers and their loved ones will stay in our hearts forever," he said in a post on social media.