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Man wanted on mental health warrant critically wounded by police in western Pennsylvania chase


MONROEVILLE, Pennsylvania — A man was in critical condition after he allegedly fired at four officers who then returned fire after a 30-mile police chase through several western Pennsylvania communities. No officers were wounded.

State police from the Kiski Valley barracks about 25 miles northeast of Pittsburgh, were attempting to determine which officers from which of several municipalities were involved in the shootout with Joshua Jesse, 41, of Monroeville.

Chief Doug Cole said the Monroeville department about 10 miles east of Pittsburgh broadcast a police alert shortly before 7 p.m. Wednesday after Jesse's family reported that he left his home with guns and other weapons and they feared he might harm himself.

When police in neighboring Murrysville saw Jesse's vehicle minutes later, they tried to stop him in hopes of having him submit to a mental health evaluation. Instead, Jesse drove away and police in various municipalities along the way either joined the chase or were monitoring the situation, state police said.

When police tried to flatten Jesse's tires with spiked sticks at the junction of Routes 819 and 66 in Washington Township, he instead turned down a side road before getting out of his pickup and running away in Bell Township.

By then he was confronted by four officers, at least some of whom were from separate departments just across the Kiskiminetas River in Armstrong County. Investigators contend Jesse fired at the officers from close range, before at least three of them returned fire.

"He turned and fired toward the responding officers, who returned fire to protect themselves," police said in a statement.

It was not immediately clear how many times Jesse was wounded, or who fired those shots. The state police were investigating because the shooting occurred in their jurisdiction and involved municipal officers.

A spokeswoman for Forbes Regional Hospital in Monroeville said Jesse remained in the intensive care unit Thursday. Authorities planned to arraign Jesse on four counts each of attempted homicide and aggravated assault once he is well enough.

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