DA Rules On Nanticoke Officer-Involved Shooting

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WILKES-BARRE, LUZERNE COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU-TV) — According to a statement released late Friday afternoon, Luzerne County District Attorney Stephanie Salavantis announced the fatal officer involved shooting that killed Jordan Oliver was justified.

The investigation revealed that at approximately 3:30 P.M., on December 1st, a witness called Luzerne County 911 reporting that her friend, a fifteen-year-old female, was taken at knife-point at Greater Nanticoke Area High School.

When police arrived, they say they encountered 20-year-old Jordan Oliver holding a knife to the minor female’s throat.

Two Nanticoke officers arrived on scene and initially were able to deescalate the situation. The female was able to free herself and was told to get in the police car.

According to officers, when they attempted to take Oliver into custody, he fought, sprayed them with mace he had concealed on him, and fled into the nearby, fully marked police SUV.

At that time, it appeared that the female had not entered the vehicle as Oliver could be seen driving and the passenger seat was vacant. Oliver allegedly drove the vehicle directly at one officer who discharged his weapon and narrowly escaped around the front to the passenger side. One of the three rounds fired is believed to have ricocheted off the center console and grazed Oliver’s leg.

According to the release, Oliver sped away and a search for Oliver began.during the investigation, police say they learned that Oliver had three violations of a Protection from Abuse (PFA) Order obtained by his
ex-girlfriend and six violations of a PFA Order obtained by the current victim. According to police, on or about November 27, 2019, Oliver was released from prison after being arrested for assaulting his father.

Luzerne County Detectives were notified and the Pennsylvania State Police activated the Special Emergency Response Team (SERT). At approximately 10:00 P.M., PSP SERT located Oliver and the minor female on foot in a
wooded area of Warrior Run.

Upon SERT yelling to Oliver to stop and announcing their presence, police say he grabbed the female with one arm around her neck and his other hand tucked underneath his arm indicating he had a firearm.

He took her to the ground shielding his body with hers. The release indicates Oliver threatened to shoot if police did not leave. According to the members of SERT, the female also told police Oliver had a firearm.

The negotiator repeatedly attempted to persuade Oliver to show his hands, release the victim and surrender.

Police say he refused and continued to threaten to kill the victim. Supervisors authorized deadly force unless Oliver began to surrender. The decision was made based on the victim being held hostage, his continued failure to respond to negotiations, and information from both
Oliver and the victim that he possessed a firearm.

Oliver’s position and threats appeared to place the hostage in danger of immediate death.

The release states Oliver did not respond to negotiator requests and kept his hand under his arm against the victim’s neck. A countdown to fire began and multiple SERT members coordinated simultaneous deadly force.

The team recovered the victim safely. Despite Oliver’s threats and the information from the victim, a firearm was not found.

The victim related to investigators that Oliver also assaulted her in the woods after fleeing the Nanticoke High School, that she was in fear during the incident and never felt she could escape safely.

According to the DA, in the incident at Greater Nanticoke Area High School, the Nanticoke officer discharged his weapon as Oliver drove the police vehicle directly at him placing him at immediate risk of death or serious bodily injury. As such, this officer’s use of force has been ruled justified.

The DA also ruled in the encounter with SERT, the investigation disclosed that Oliver refused at all times to relent, release the victim or show his hands. He continuously indicated he had a firearm, positioned his concealed hand against her neck, and threatened to shoot the victim.

The victim additionally advised that she believed Oliver had a firearm.
As a result, the victim appeared to be in immediate danger of death and the use of deadly force by the SERT members has been ruled justified.

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