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Wounded Pa. police shootout suspect encountered Frostburg officers hours earlier

April 26th, 2016 by WCBC Radio

The Cumberland Times News reports a 26-year-old Colorado man critically wounded in a shootout with police last week in Westmoreland County, Pa., was encountered by Frostburg Police earlier that same day. Jesse Callender, of Minturn, was listed in critical condition following the Wednesday night shooting outside a convenience store and gas station on Route 22 in Murrysville. He reportedly remained hospitalized Tuesday. It was April 20 when Callender reportedly entered the Marathon station and allegedly threatened a clerk when he was unable to pay for fuel. He then threatened to return with a gun if he wasn't provided gasoline for his van. The clerk called 911 at 8:15 p.m., prompting response of Murrysville Police officers.

Callender allegedly fired two shots at the officers, who reportedly returned fire as Callender was running back into the store.

He was struck by at least one of the shots fired by officers, police said. The officers were not injured.

Callender was taken to Forbes Hospital in Monroeville and later transferred to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh, where he underwent surgery for treatment of injuries to his intestines and colon, according to Rebecca Callender, the suspect's mother.

Callender reportedly fired the shots from a .38-caliber revolver. A box of ammunition was recovered from his van, the same vehicle that Frostburg Police encountered in the city of Frostburg less than 12 hours before the shootout with police in Murrysville.

It was shortly after 7 a.m. when a Frostburg Police officer checked a suspicious person complaint involving a van parked in the area of the Frostburg swimming pool.

A dog was inside the van when the officer checked the complaint. The officer returned an hour later and located the driver — identified at that time as Callender.

Frostburg Police ran police computer checks on Callender but reportedly did not find any information.

Callender reportedly told police at that time “he was passing through” the area and was in Frostburg in an attempt to borrow money from a relative who is a student at Frostburg State University.

Police confirmed the information that Callender has a relative enrolled at the school.

Callender apparently spent a few hours in Frostburg before driving approximately 90 miles to Westmoreland County, according to Frostburg Police Chief Royce Douty.

Published reports following the shooting included information from Callender's mother that her son suffers from schizophrenia.

Another report indicated that Callender had posted information on Facebook that he had a “bag of change stolen from Keyser (W.Va.). I am down to 72 cents. You are all dead.”

The Facebook posting was apparently made an hour before the officer-involved shooting — the first of its kind in Murraysville in at least 11 years, according to Murrysville Police Chief Tom Seefeld.

Westmoreland County District Attorney John Peck said Tuesday numerous felony charges, including robbery and criminal attempted homicide have been filed against Callender. Peck said Callender has not yet been served with those charges.

Concerning his officer's contact with Callender the same day of the Murrysville shooting, Chief Douty said, "When our officer approached Callender, he had gotten out of the van. No doubt, he (Callender) had the gun on him or in the van at that time. If our officer had upset him in any way, it could have turned bad.

"A police officer today doesn't know what he will come across,"  said Douty.

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