Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defended himself in a new campaign video Tuesday amid criticism over a 2013 incident in which he pulled a shotgun on an unarmed Black jogger after hearing gunshots nearby.
Mr. Fetterman, a Democrat who announced Monday he will run for the U.S. Senate in 2022, cut a campaign video Tuesday, titled, “Gun Violence,” in which he addresses the 2013 incident that took place during his second term as the mayor of Braddock.
In the video, Mr. Fetterman said he was outside with his 4-year-old son when they heard a “crushing burst of gunfire” coming from “a corridor that was the scene of dozens of shootings.”
“I immediately made a series of split-second decisions: Get my son to safety, call 9-1-1, and then I saw an individual dressed entirely in black, in a face mask, who was running from that scene in the direction of our elementary school,” he said, Fox News reported. “And this was a few weeks after the Sandy Hook child massacre. I realized that I could never forgive myself if I didn’t do anything and something terrible would’ve happened. So I made the decision at that point to intervene, to stop him from going any further, until the first responders could arrive.”
Mr. Fetterman defended his actions at the time of the incident, too, telling police he pulled a 20-gauge shotgun from his truck and pursued the man, whom he described as dressed in black and wearing a face mask and goggles, running from the direction of the noise.
According to The Philadelphia Inquirer, Mr. Fetterman said in a TV interview at the time that he confronted the man with his gun and held him until the police arrived. The man, identified as Christopher Miyares, was later found to be unarmed and unrelated to the alleged gunfire, police said. Mr. Miyares told local news media that the noise came from some kids playing with bottle rockets nearby.
Mr. Fetterman admitted at the time that he may have “broken the law” in pursuing Mr. Miyares but had no regrets. Neither of the men faced charges.
Mr. Fetterman issued a separate statement Tuesday denying that race or gender played any factor in his decision-making, saying both were indiscernible as Mr. Miyares was “bundled head to toe in the dead of winter.”
“I made a split-second decision to intervene for the safety and protection of my community, and intercepted the person to stop them from going any further until the first responders could arrive,” the lieutenant governor said, The Inquirer reported. “I stayed in my truck and never came in physical contact with the individual. I had my shotgun, but it was never pointed at the individual, and there wasn’t even a round chambered.”
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