Kanagy declared legally insane; found not guilty in 2012 incident

LEWISTOWN – A man with a long history of mental illness who was shot by police in 2012 during an altercation along Feeder Avenue, has been found unfit to stand trial.

Senior Judge Rick Williams declared 42-year-old Leroy B. Kanagy not guilty by reason of insanity on Thursday.

Defense attorney Michael Gingerich had filed a motion to find Kanagy not guilty by reason of insanity in November and Mifflin County District Attorney Dave Molek did not object given the results of several psychological evaluations.

Kanagy is being housed in the mental health wing at the State Correctional Institute Rockview in Centre County. He will be moved to the state hospital in Danville, where he is expected to remain for the foreseeable future.

After the Feb. 23, 2012 altercation with police he was arrested and charged with aggravated assault and other related offenses.

Officers Jeremy C. Poff and William F. Roberts Jr., of Lewistown Police Department, caught up to 41-year-old Leroy B. Kanagy, of Lewistown shortly after 8 p.m. on the day in question in an attempt to serve a warrant for a probation violation, according to court documents.

What the officers did not know at the time, but would later find out, is Kanagy may well have been on his way to Harrisburg to purchase an automatic gun, which he planned to use to kill police officers, court documents indicate.

When Poff and Roberts first spotted Kanagy’s vehicle along Chestnut Street, they initiated a traffic stop and informed Kanagy there was a warrant for his arrest and he needed to step out of his vehicle. Kanagy refused, and drove away nearly striking Poff, police said.

Police said at one point, Kanagy had a passenger in his vehicle, 19-year-old Andrew W. Rice who eventually managed to get out of the car and would later inform them about Kanagy’s intentions to go to Harrisburg and purchase weapons, according to court documents.

The officers eventually cornered Kanagy along Feeder Avenue where the defendant accelerated his vehicle, striking Poff’s police vehicle. Kanagy’s vehicle became disabled and Poff gave him several verbal commands to get on the ground, which Kanagy refused and instead charged toward the officer, according to court documents.

Poff attempted to subdue Kanagy by using a Taser several times, but that proved ineffective. Roberts also attempted to get Kanagy to surrender, ordering him to get on the ground, which also proved ineffective, according to court documents.

Kanagy then charged toward Roberts, who said he could not see Kanagy’s hands and was in fear for his life. Roberts fired two rounds from his service pistol, striking Kanagy twice in the chest, but Kanagy then attempted to flee from officers on foot, court documents indicate.

Shortly after the incident with Kanagy, Mifflin County District Attorney Dave Molek ruled Roberts was justified in the use of potentially deadly force when he discharged his firearm.

When state police later interviewed Rice, he told them of Kanagy’s desire to purchase guns to “start a revolution” and kill police officers, documents state.

Court documents indicate Kanagy felt the police had destroyed his life eight years ago and he was going to kill them now.

Kanagy spent several months at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville recovering from his wounds.

The Pennsylvania State Police interviewed Kanagy on April 11, 2012 and asked him why he charged at police officers.

Kanagy said he wanted to “take their guns and shoot them,” court documents indicate.

Kanagy told state police he wanted to start a revolution and that he viewed “the government as the beast and the police are part of the government.”