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Police officer recalls night he was shot in leg; Lower Swatara's Shea, Malott receive awards for actions

By Laura Hayes

laurahayes@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 11/27/19

Lower Swatara Police Officer Timothy Shea says his religion has given him strength as he recovers from being shot during a domestic incident Oct. 14 that led to a police standoff with the suspect. …

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Police officer recalls night he was shot in leg; Lower Swatara's Shea, Malott receive awards for actions

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Lower Swatara Police Officer Timothy Shea says his religion has given him strength as he recovers from being shot during a domestic incident Oct. 14 that led to a police standoff with the suspect.

“My co-workers are awesome. Our chief is extremely supportive. I feel like I’m in debt to everyone else at this point because of how well I’ve been treated,” Shea said.

Shea made his comments to the Press & Journal on Nov. 20, at the Lower Swatara Board of Commissioners meeting. Police Chief Jeff Vargo presented Shea with a Law Enforcement Purple Heart, and both Shea and Officer Josh Malott with the Medal of Valor, that night.

The two responded Oct. 14 to the 100 block of Bentley Lane, in Swatara Shores trailer park off Vine Street. The ex-boyfriend of the victim allegedly shot Shea during the incident.   

Shea said after hearing shots, he thought to himself, “Oh, crap.”

It took a few seconds for him to realize he was shot.

“There’s so much going on that you’re focused on other things,” Shea said.

People often use the word “hero” to describe celebrities or politicians, but to Vargo, the real heroes are first responders and military personnel.

Shea and Malott are the epitome of heroes and examples of “all that is good in law enforcement,” Vargo said.

“It is without a doubt that the actions of these officers — Officers Shea and Malott — saved the life of the female victim,” Vargo said. “Their actions reflect the commitment to our community and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Lower Swatara Township Police Department and the law enforcement community.”

Shea was off crutches during the presentation, and told the Press & Journal that he was going through physical therapy and hoped to be back on duty in January. Vargo said they hoped to get him back as soon as possible but weren’t going to rush it.

“I have nothing prepared for this,” Shea told the crowd at the meeting that included other officers. “Thank you all for these awards. I guess I can speak for both of us when I say, we’re just here to do our job. We’re no different than the rest of these guys back here. They’re just as much heroes as we are. We just happened to be put in the situation — right place right time sort of deal.”

Shea was awarded the law enforcement Purple Heart, which Vargo said is given to officers who sustain a “potentially life-threatening or serious injury as a direct result of an action taken while in performance of his duty.”

Both Shea and Malott were awarded the Medal of Valor, which Vargo said is awarded for “extraordinary acts of courage without regard for personal safety while engaged in actual combat with an armed and dangerous adversary.”

“They had no way of knowing what was about to happen when they entered that residence,” Vargo said.

In the interview with the Press & Journal, Shea said domestic assaults are more common than people think. Malott said there’s usually a lot of emotions involved and tempers run high.

“I don’t think we really thought it was going to turn out the way that it did. It just came in as a drunken ex-boyfriend banging on the door that she was worried that the glass door would break,” Malott said.

The ex-boyfriend who allegedly shot Shea is Andrew Changhan Park, 48, of the 200 block of Cherokee Drive in Mechanicsburg. According to the affidavit filed with District Judge Michael J. Smith, Park had been texting the woman before showing up at her house. She told police Park told her that he was going to kill her and himself that night.

Park faces 12 charges, all of which were sent onto county court: criminal attempt of murder in the first degree, assault of a law enforcement officer, burglary, unlawful restraint, strangulation, simple assault, and two counts each of aggravated assault, terroristic threats, and recklessly endangering another person. His case has been transferred to the Dauphin County Court of Common Pleas.

Shea and Malott arrived at the home at 11:26 p.m. Oct. 14. Malott said when they arrived, they saw the door had been shattered and glass was everywhere.

The woman sounded “distressful,” he said.

“It went zero to a hundred real quick. That’s the only way I could put it,” Malott said.

Park and the woman were in a room in the front of the house, and when Park saw the officers, he slammed the door shut with the woman inside, the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, the officers approached the door with their Tasers. Shea kicked open the door, and Malott saw Park pull up a handgun, believing he was aiming it at the woman’s head, the affidavit said.

“At this time Officer Malott fired his Taser in the direction of the male and at about the same time Officer Shea also fired his Taser at the male. Officer Malott said he then saw the male falling backwards and then he heard two more pop sounds and believed the male had just fired shots at them,” the affidavit said.

According to the affidavit, Shea was struck in the right leg and applied a tourniquet to himself, which is something that’s practiced in the police academy, Shea said.

Malott said he took the “fatherly role.”

“I was his [field training officer] in the beginning of the year. So I grabbed him and got him behind me. He got shot, so I knew he was out and he didn’t know how severe it was yet,” Malott said.

They got the woman out of the residence, and it turned into a barricaded gunman situation that lasted several hours until Park surrendered.