High school math teacher in PA shot and killed in confrontation with police

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Allegheny county police Superintendent Coleman McDonough is shown at a press conference after a police involved shooting, in this screen grab from a video clip, August 7, 2019.(WTAE)

A Pennsylvania high school math teacher was shot and killed by police, who said he pointed a firearm at officers responding to a 911 call to his home.

The Penn Hills School District’s school board president, Erin Vecchio, said that Donald Babbit, 49, had been a popular teacher over two decades and that the community was “in shock.”

“We can’t figure it out. We’re all dumbfounded,” Vecchio said.

According to Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough, police responding to a 911 call were told by Babbit’s wife that he was “behaving erratically” and had access to weapons. Police formed a perimeter around where Babbit lived and used a public address system in an attempt to convince Babbit to come out, McDonough said.

When Babbit came outside, he was “obviously and visibly armed with a handgun,” and walked towards the officers waving the gun and pointing the weapon at one officer, according to McDonough, who said officers commanded Babbit to drop his weapon.

Three officers – two from Shaler Township and one from Hampton Township – fired on Babbit and “struck him multiple times,” McDonough said. Babbit was pronounced dead at Allegheny General Hospital.

The Penn Hills School District said grief counselors would be available at the school.

“Don was a beloved member of our staff and had the distinct reputation among students, families, and colleagues as being an exceptional teacher,” the district said in a statement. “He will be missed.”

Allegheny County police said the three officers were placed on administrative leave by their departments pending a review of the incident.

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