Charges possible for Pennsylvania deputy who tested positive for cocaine after killing rape suspect
Police officer with a gun (Shutterstock)

A Pennsylvania sheriff’s deputy could be charged with manslaughter if investigators determine he was high on cocaine when he shot and killed a rape suspect last month.


Richard Dwyer was fired by the Allegheny County sheriff after he tested positive for cocaine shortly after he and a U.S. Marshal fatally shot Leslie Sapp as they attempted to arrest him Jan. 6 at his Knoxville home, reported the Tribune-Review.

The 44-year-old Dwyer fired at least one of the seven shots that struck Sapp, who was accused of sexually assaulting a young girl.

Prosecutors said Sapp took a shooting stance with what was later found to be a pellet gun as deputies and members of a U.S. Marshals task force attempted to take him into custody.

Dwyer could be charged if investigators are able to determine his cognitive abilities were impaired at the time of the shooting.

“If an officer is under the influence of drugs and it affects his cognitive skills, and somehow this person is dead because he didn't act properly because of the drugs, that could be involuntary manslaughter,” said District Attorney Stephen A. Zappala Jr.

Drug tests are part of the standard investigative procedure during officer-involved shootings.