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Vandergrift officer injured trying to subdue domestic abuse suspect

posted Aug 4, 2020, 3:25 PM by Joseph Gray

Allegheny Township Police say at least one officer was injured Friday evening during the arrest of a man on suspicion of domestic violence.

According to police, officers responded to a domestic violence call along Hancock Avenue around 9 p.m. Friday. There, police say, a woman told them she was assaulted by James Rimmel, 57. Rimmel was gone when police arrived, they said.

The woman, however, had an injury to her leg and said she hit her head when Rimmel threw her over a railing, according to police.

Officers reached Rimmel by phone, but said he was not cooperative. Rimmel returned to the residence around 10:30 p.m., prompting police to be called back, according to the police report.

A Vandergrift officer suffered an injury to his ankle when, police say, Rimmel “rushed” him and he fell from a porch. Police say Rimmel also rushed a second officer and the two fell off the porch into a yard, where Rimmel continued to resist arrest.

Allegheny Township police Chief Duane Fisher said one officer used a Taser on Rimmel but it had no effect.

According to Fisher, sheer numbers overwhelmed Rimmel when Allegheny Township officers arrived to back up Vandergrift police. In all, it took five officers to subdue Rimmel.

At least one Allegheny Township officer was struck in the head as he tried to restrain Rimmel, Fisher said.

Once handcuffed, police said they rolled Rimmel onto his back and discovered he had a fully loaded handgun tucked into his waistband. A police report said the gun had a live round in the chamber.

The officer who sustained an ankle injury was taken to Allegheny Valley Hospital for treatment. Rimmel refused EMS treatment for being Tasered, but later requested EMS for a bruise on his calf area. He was evaluated and cleared from Allegheny Valley Hospital early Saturday.

Fisher said Rimmel will be charged with “numerous” counts of aggravated assault for his struggle with police, in addition to the original domestic dispute charges.

“The significance is that he had a handgun on him,” Fisher said. “The officers tried to talk to him in regards to the initial domestic via telephone. … He had made it clear he was willing to fight the police.

“He escalated the situation to a point where officers got injured, after he had injured someone he supposedly cares about,” Fisher said.

Teghan Simonton is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Teghan at 724-226-4680, or via Twitter .