- Associated Press - Wednesday, March 12, 2014

PITTSBURGH (AP) - Pennsylvania State Police were justified in fatally shooting a Massachusetts man who abducted his girlfriend’s 8-month-old daughter and held a knife to her throat after leading police on a car chase, a western Pennsylvania prosecutor announced Wednesday.

Allegheny County District Attorney Stephen Zappala Jr. said police “did a heck of a job” in cornering the suspect, Jared Brown-Garnham, 21, of Taunton, Mass., and saving the baby from harm after a chase that ended early Dec. 7.

“They did what they were trained to do, and they did it very well,” Zappala said at a news conference. District attorneys routinely review police shootings to determine whether deadly force was justified.

“It’s regrettable that someone lost their life,” Zappala said, adding, “but I’m proud of these guys.”

Dash cam video from a police car that chased Brown-Garnham showed him taunting police, pulling the baby from a rear seat onto his lap - during which he motioned with a 5-inch buck knife that he would harm the baby - and stabbing himself in the leg several times.

“He’s swearing at them,” Zappala said of the suspect’s taunts to police. “He’s saying, ‘Kill me, kill me.’”

State police issued an Amber alert after the suspect, who had been living in Uniontown, about 40 miles south of Pittsburgh, took his ex-girlfriend’s car from a convenience store lot in Brentwood - with the strapped into a rear car seat.

The woman, Ashley Spring, 25, of Fairmont, W.Va., was giving the suspect a ride to the Greyhound station in Pittsburgh, where he was supposed to board a bus to Massachusetts to testify in the trial of a fatal stabbing he allegedly witnessed in 2010. Instead, police said, the pair argued during the trip and Brown-Garnham took the car when after they stopped at the store so Spring and her 3-year-old son could use the restroom.

Police issued the Amber alert shortly after midnight Dec. 7, and Ohio Township police spotted the car west of Pittsburgh and gave chase as other agencies joined the pursuit.

More than 10 police vehicles surrounded the car after the suspect rammed security gates at Pittsburgh International Airport, causing a front tire to catch fire.

One officer broke the car’s passenger window, while another trooper shot Brown-Garnham from short range.

The baby suffered superficial knife wounds to her neck but was otherwise unharmed.

Police showed “tremendous restraint,” Zappala said. “They saved that baby’s life.”

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