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June 25, 2012

UPDATE | Johnstown shooting victim identified

EBENSBURG — Cambria County Chief Deputy Coroner Jeff Lees has identified the Johnstown man who was fatally wounded early today in an officer-involved shooting by the Johnstown police.

Lees said that 27-year-old Elip Cheatham died of multiple gunshot wounds in the operating room at Johnstown Memorial Medical Center.

The cause of death was listed as a gunshot wound to the chest.

State police, who are investigating the shooting, said that three city policemen who fired their weapons have been placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.

Two other people - whose identities were not released - were riding in a car with Cheatam and were wounded in the shooting.  One has been released after being treated at the hospital while the second still was being treated this afternoon there, Trooper John Matchik, police spokesman, said at a news conference this afternoon at the Ebensburg Barracks.

The officers fired their weapons when Cheatham came upon another vehicle’s being stopped by the city police near the Greater Johnstown Middle School. According to police, Cheatam ignored officers commands to stop and accelerated his vehicle in the direction of the police and emergency vehicles.

First Assistant District Attorney Heath Long said that the investigation will determine whether the officers were justified in using deadly force.

Matchik said that the investigation is a very fluid one involving 15 to 20 troopers from area barracks.

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