CLEARFIELD – Christopher A. Kanouff, 48, of Clearfield was shot by state police and died early Thursday morning, ending an approximate nine-hour stand-off in the East End area of Clearfield Borough.
Trooper Bruce Morris, community services officer for Troop C, said the incident started at approximately 6 p.m., when two borough police officers stopped a blue Pontiac G6 for an expired registration and suspended insurance in the 300 block of Daisy Street.
Officers identified the driver as Kanouff and a 911 dispatch query revealed that he had an active warrant through the Pennsylvania Department of Probation and Parole. Kanouff was then removed from the vehicle.
When he started to resist and pull away, officers reportedly observed a black semi-automatic handgun in the waistband of his pants. The officers ordered Kanouff to his knees at gunpoint, but he refused and instead fled east on Daisy Street.
A foot pursuit ensued and Kanouff allegedly pointed his weapon at both officers several times, prompting back-up from Lawrence Township and Curwensville Borough police departments and Pennsylvania State Police.
Morris said Kanouff was located at his apartment in the 800 block of Daisy Street where he’d barricaded himself. He said police ordered Kanouff to exit the building “peacefully,” but he refused and a perimeter was established.
Neighboring residents were also evacuated by law enforcement for their personal safety and a Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team (SERT) was summoned to the scene.
Morris said Kanouff was charged Wednesday night with three felony counts of aggravated assault, and a warrant was obtained for his arrest. (Online court records indicate those charges have since been dismissed because Kanouff is deceased).
At 1 a.m. – 2 a.m. Thursday, Kanouff threatened to shoot citizens along the street, Morris said, and the SERT had to deploy chemical agents into his apartment, at which point he reportedly broke into an adjacent apartment within the building.
Chemical agents were then deployed into that apartment and Kanouff exited with the handgun, allegedly refusing to follow orders and pointing the weapon at police.
At approximately 2:50 a.m. Thursday, Morris said Kanouff was shot once by a PSP SERT member and pronounced dead on-scene by the coroner’s office. “Nobody wanted this outcome.”
Captain Wayne Kline, Troop C Punxsutawney, commanding officer, added that though this wasn’t a “peaceful solution, it was a good solution” because it kept both law enforcement and citizens out of harm’s way.
“The officers involved showed great restraint from … the onset of the traffic stop, and only used deadly force when they were out of options,” Kline said. Clearfield County District Attorney Ryan P. Sayers agreed.
“Instead, they took a period of several hours and made many attempts for a peaceful resolution [when] in fact multiple officers and troopers had a gun pointed at them over the course of last night and this morning,” Sayers said.