MEDIA, Pa. — A man who argued self-defense in the shooting of a suburban Philadelphia police officer has been acquitted of almost all charges, including those involving the officer.
Darrel Burt was convicted Friday in Delaware County court of recklessly endangering a friend during the August 2015 confrontation in Norwood, The Delaware County Daily Times (http://bit.ly/2bKuUGw ) reported.
But Burt, 37, was acquitted of a dozen other counts, including attempted murder of police officers, attempted voluntary manslaughter and assaulting an officer by discharging a firearm.
Police said he fired two shots at a Ridley Park officer who had fired a stun gun after responding to a report of a man threatening to kill himself. One bullet hit the officer in the leg and the other in the bulletproof vest covering his chest, which the officer credits for saving his life. Police returned fire and wounded Burt in the elbow.
Defense attorney Wana Saadzoi asked three officers whether they ever announced their presence, and all testified that they didn’t recall having done so, although one said he was under the impression that the defendant knew that police had been called.
Burt said he didn’t see the uniformed officers outside and wouldn’t have fired had he known they were there. The defendant, a former service member who served two tours of duty in Iraq with the Army, said he reacted based on his training when the stun gun was fired at him.
“I returned fire. I defended myself and I returned fire after I saw the (stun gun) firing at me,” he said.
Deputy District Attorney Michael McDevitt pointed to statements following his arrest in which Burt spoke of depression and an argument at a local bar earlier that night, not military training or post-traumatic stress.
Jury deliberations began late Thursday and lasted until Friday afternoon, when Burt was convicted of endangering a friend who had gone to the apartment concerned about Burt’s welfare. He is to be sentenced Oct. 11 pending a drug and alcohol evaluation, psychological evaluation and presentence investigation.
“This was a sad case and it was a long week,” Saadzoi told the newspaper in an email.
This story has been corrected to say Burt’s first name is Darrel, not Daniel.
Information from: Delaware County Daily Times, http://www.delcotimes.com