Man with gun arrested at Upper Darby police station
UPPER DARBY, Pa. - February 26, 2012 (WPVI) -- Upper Darby authorities have charged a man with attempted murder of two police officers after an altercation in police headquarters.
He was crazed, police say. It was kind of like a mortal combat situation, where two officers were fighting for their lives.
It was just after midnight Friday when Upper Darby Police say an enraged Kenneth Stewart entered the Police Station demanding his girlfriend be released from jail.
She had been arrested earlier that night for drunk and disorderly conduct outside the Playhouse Lanes on the 3200 block of Garrett Road.
"He then got into a verbal confrontation with Officer Sides, screaming and yelling, threatening him. Sides then proceeds to tell him he's under arrest," said Superintendant Michael Chitwood.
Officer William Sides then walked out from behind the bullet proof glass. He and Stewart fought to the ground in the police lobby.
Officer Mike Begany rushed to help his brother in blue. As he did, police say Stewart pulled a gun from his waistband.
"Sides never saw the gun," said Chitwood. "He was struggling with him, and Sides is lucky he didn't get blown away."
As the officers struggled to get a hold of the loaded gun, a bullet ejected from the chamber.
The officers were able to subdue Stewart and confiscate the weapon.
The two veteran officers were able to arrest the 22 year old, whom police call a career criminal who was already wanted on an armed assault charge.
Chitwood said Stewart was wanted for an incident that occurred on December 30, 2011, in which he threatened an individual with a gun.
On June 4, 2011, Chitwood said Stewart beat another man over the head with a stick, resulting in the man suffering with $6,000 worth of medical bills.
"He was then taken back into a cell where he subsequently was so out of control, he had to be tased. He was spitting blood at the officers, threatening to kill them," said Chitwood.
Both Sides and Begany suffered some bumps and bruises, but are back on the job.
Police Superintendent Mike Chitwood says in 2004 a police confrontation with an armed suspect in the lobby led to an officer being shot.
The latest confrontation has him now reviewing station security and protocol.
"It's kind of concerning when the lobby of a police station can be a battleground," said Chitwood.
Stewart was charged with attempted murder of two police officers, aggravated assault, weapons violations.
"It turns out Stewart is a violent predator; he's a violent street thug," Chitwood said.
For all three case, he is being held on $250,000 cash bail.
Meanwhile, his girlfriend 27-year-old Denise Pepe was released on citations.
The gun apparently belongs to Pepe.
She tells police she locked it up in a closet and Stewart must have broken in and taken it. Chitwood said they are investigating that, but believe she bought the gun for him.
Chitwood believes drugs played a role."The officers were very, very lucky; this guy was crazed, obviously he has a violence history," Chitwood said.
pennsylvania, upper darby, police, crime, chad pradelli
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