Lititz officer cleared by DA

By on February 26, 2014

The Lancaster County District Attorney reported Tuesday that a borough police officer acted correctly when he fatally shot a 22-year-old Lititz man Dec. 21.

“It’s what I expected. It is the correct move,” said Lititz Police Chief William Seace on Tuesday.

District Attorney Craig Stedman reported that Officer Joel Hartz acted appropriately when he fired shots at David Giliberti just moments after answering a 9-1-1 call from inside 101 Arrowhead Drive, made by Giliberti’s grandmother.

Giliberti, a 2009 graduate of Warwick High School, had no criminal record or history of violence, but had been prescribed medication to manage a bipolar disorder.

“The key thing for the (toxicology report) was that it showed (Giliberti) was not taking his anti-psychotic medication,” Stedman said Tuesday.

Police had been investigating the tragic events that led to the fatal shooting after Giliberti lunged at Hartz with a knife that Saturday morning at about 3:20 a.m.

Hartz opened fire only after shooting Giliberti with a stun gun, which had no effect.

An emergency medical team reached Giliberti about a minute after the shooting and determined that he was dead.

Seace said it was apparent immediately that Hartz had acted responsibly.

“I knew from the interview with Officer Hartz on the day of the shooting that he did follow correct protocol proper restraint,” Seace said.

Hartz, a veteran officer who was placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation, remains out on workers compensation.

Stedman said the case exemplifies “just how dangerous it is to be a police officer and reminds us how much they do to protect all of us.”

“This call went from a vague call for assistance to an officer facing death in just a few moments,” Stedman said.

“Officer Hartz did a fantastic job and did everything he could, attempting to manage the threat and control the situation before using deadly force.”

Patrick Burns is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at pburns.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4455

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