- Associated Press - Friday, September 25, 2015

HARRISONBURG, Va. (AP) - Harrisonburg’s police chief says a man who was fatally shot by officers fired first after refusing orders to drop his gun.

Chief Stephen Monticelli said at a news conference Friday that three officers fired a total of four shots. One shot hit 23-year-old Michael Thomas Pierce Jr., who died at the scene.

The shooting occurred early Sunday morning after police responded to a report of a disturbance. Officers found a white male outdoors holding a long gun.

Monticelli said that after a standoff of about 24 minutes, Pierce ran from a front porch onto the grounds of an apartment complex and fired his gun. That’s when police returned fire.

The chief says the officers still have his “utmost confidence.” They have been placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.

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