- Associated Press - Friday, December 16, 2016

NEW CASTLE, Pa. (AP) - Police dashcam video shows an officer was likely justified when he shot a man who held a gun to the head of a woman in his car said, a Pennsylvania prosecutor said.

The woman was uninjured in the shooting. The man, Shawn Hobel, 34, of Ellwood City, remained under guard Friday at St. Elizabeth Hospital in Youngtown, Ohio, where his condition was not immediately available.

Lawrence County District Attorney Joshua Lamancusa released the video Thursday. He said the shooting appears to be justified, but his office is continuing to review the shooting.

A New Castle officer shot Hobel after he drove away from a traffic stop in Shenango Township and led police on a chase early Tuesday, before patrol cars hemmed him in, Lamancusa said. The officer isn’t being publicly identified, but he has been placed on paid leave during the review of the shooting.

“Mr. Hobel began shouting ‘I’m going to kill her,’ and he pushed the point of the gun harder against the female’s head,” Lamancusa said, prompting the officer to shoot.

The officer recently completed special training for vehicle hostage rescues, Lamancusa said.

“Some people may ask, well why didn’t you wait to see what the man in the car did?” Lamancusa said. “You would never wait to see what the person in the vehicle was going to do, when he has a gun pointed to someone else’s head.”

State police said the chase began in Shenango Township, near New Castle, when police tried to pull a vehicle they considered suspicious around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday. Authorities have not yet explained why the officers considered the vehicle suspicious, but police say the woman in the car eventually told them Hobel was responsible for several unspecified armed robberies in and around New Castle.

The vehicle drove off into Butler County and then back into Lawrence County with state, township and New Castle police in pursuit.

The officers were able to corner the vehicle at state Route 422 and Interstate 376 in Union Township, where patrol cars pinned Hobel’s vehicle between theirs while he was trying to make a U-turn, prompting the armed confrontation.

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