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Chesco Cop Fired Gun At Car That Left Routine Traffic Stop: DA

Patch logo Patch 12/16/2021 Justin Heinze
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CHESTER COUNTY, PA — A police officer in Chester County has been arrested after firing his gun at a car that suddenly left a routine traffic stop, the District Attorney's Office announced Thursday. While the woman involved was not complying with the officer's requests, the use of force was not justified and is "strictly prohibited" in such circumstances, investigators ruled.

Sgt. Anthony Sparano, 53, of the West Caln Police Department, had originally pulled the woman over for making an illegal turn. He's been charged with recklessly endangering another person and simple assault.

"No one is above the law," District Attorney Deb Ryan said in a statement. "Every day, we hold our law enforcement officers to the highest standards and expect them always to honor the value of human life above all else. They have a duty to attempt to de-escalate potentially volatile situations and never to engage in the use of excessive force."

The incident occurred just after midnight on Nov. 10, near the intersection of Route 340 and Octorara Trail Road in West Caln Township.

The woman made an illegal left turn at a red light, and Sparano turned on his lights and pulled her over.

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Sparano's body camera recorded their interaction, in which the woman did not comply with his request to give him her driver's license and registration, police said.

The situation continued to escalate from there, as the woman recorded the incident with her phone. When Sparano went to open the woman's car door to take her out of vehicle, she started to drive away, according to authorities.

That's when Sparano pulled out his weapon and immediately fired one round at the car, striking the rear driver's side window and shattering the glass, according to police.

"Shooting into a moving vehicle, as Sgt. Sparano did here, is strictly prohibited unless the officer reasonably believes that death or serious bodily injury may occur," Ryan added. "Even then, such an inherently dangerous step should only be taken after all other efforts have been exhausted."

Sparano then pursued the woman briefly, and she stopped on the 700-block of Octorara Trail Road. She was taken to Brandywine Hospital for treatment of minor injuries and then released.

Sparano was released after the charges were filed. A preliminary hearing is set for Dec. 30.

Chester County Detectives continue to investigate the case. Assistant District Attorney Kate Lewis is prosecuting.


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