Senate candidate Fetterman defends actions in 2013 gun incident with Black jogger

Senate candidate Fetterman defends actions in 2013 gun incident with Black jogger
© Ben Kamisar

Pennsylvania Lt. Gov. John Fetterman (D), who is currently running for U.S. Senate, addressed a 2013 incident in which he held an unarmed Black man at gunpoint, defending his actions in a campaign ad.

The incident occurred when Fetterman was the mayor of Braddock, Pa. The then-mayor claimed to have heard gunshots and then proceeded to stop a Black jogger with his shotgun, The New York Times reports.

According to the Times, Fetterman followed the man in his pickup truck and used a 20-gauge shotgun to hold him in place. The man, Christopher Miyares, was wearing running clothes and headphones and was not found to have a weapon on him when police arrived. Miyares has said that Fetterman pointed the gun at his chest, which Fetterman refutes.

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In the video, titled “Gun Violence,” Fetterman recounts the 2013 incident.

“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,” Fetterman said.

Fetterman said he saw a man dressed entirely in black wearing a face mask running toward a nearby elementary school. He added he could “never forgive myself” if he hadn’t done anything.

“So I made that decision at that point to intervene to stop him from going any further until the first responders could arrive,” Fetterman said. “It's not something that I would want anybody to live through, but the fact of the matter is there are a lot of communities in America, including Braddock, where it is not uncommon to hear gunshots randomly during the day or at night.”

Fetterman has repeatedly claimed to have not known Miyares's race when he pursued him, the Times notes.

Fetterman never faced any charges, the Times reports, and a spokesperson for the Allegheny County Police Department told the outlet that Miyares never filed a complaint. Miyares was charged with multiple felonies in 2018, including kidnapping for ransom and making terroristic threats. He is currently incarcerated in a Pennsylvania state prison.

Fetterman formally announced his Senate bid on Monday, joining what is expected to be one of the most competitive political races in the U.S. Fetterman had previously run in 2016, losing the Democratic primary to Kathleen McGinty.