Dem Senate candidate John Fetterman defends pulling gun on unarmed Black jogger in 2013

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Democratic Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman defended his actions Tuesday in regard to a resurfaced 2013 incident in which he pulled a shotgun on an unarmed Black jogger whom he suspected of involvement in a nearby shooting.

Fetterman’s actions faced renewed scrutiny this week after he announced his intent to run for one of Pennsylvania’s seats in the U.S. Senate. Videos of local news reports describing the incident resurfaced on social media.

At the time of the incident, Fetterman, 51, was in his second term as mayor of Braddock. While outside with his young son, Fetterman thought he heard the sound of automatic gunfire and rushed to confront the man he suspected of being responsible.

Fetterman held the man, then-28-year-old Christopher Miyares, at gunpoint. Police who arrived at the scene searched Miyares and found that he was unarmed. In a police report, the officer noted that Miyares was wearing running clothes and headphones at the time of the incident.

In a new video released by his campaign, Fetterman offered his side of the story.

“There was an episode over eight years ago where I was outside with my young son, who was four years old at the time, and I heard this crushing burst of gunfire coming from a corridor that was the scene of dozens of shootings – some fatal, some not,” Fetterman said in the video. “And I immediately made a series of split-second decisions – get my son to safety, call 9-1-1, and then I saw an individual dressed entirely in black, in a face mask, who was running from that scene in the direction of our elementary school.”

“This was a few weeks after the Sandy Hook child massacre,” Fetterman added. “I realized that I could never forgive myself if I didn’t do anything and something terrible would’ve happened. So I made the decision at that point to intervene, to stop him from going any further, until the first responders could arrive.”

Fetterman also noted his record leading a crackdown on gun violence in Braddock during his tenure as mayor.


Some details of Fetterman’s confrontation with the unarmed jogger were disputed at the time of the incident. Miyares told WTAE-TV that Fetterman pointed the shotgun at his chest during the encounter – an accusation the former mayor denied.

“I believe I did the right thing, though I may have broken the law in the course of it,” Fetterman told the outlet at the time. “I’m certainly not above the law if I did. But what I did, I did in a split second out of concern as a father and the mayor.”

Fetterman launched a bid to replace Republican Sen. Pat Toomey, who is set to retire from Congress when his term expires in 2022. Getterman rose to national prominence during former President Donald Trump’s challenge of Pennsylvania’s voting results in the 2020 election.

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