Clearfield, PA – A man is dead after a standoff that lasted several hours from Wednesday night until Thursday morning in Clearfield.
Police were hoping for a peaceful ending to the conflict and say they did everything in their power to resolve the issue before using lethal force.
48-year-old Christopher Kanouff had fled from the scene of a traffic stop on Wednesday afternoon around 6 p.m.
He resisted arrest during the stop, and police noticed a handgun in his waistband. They ordered him to the ground, but Kanouff fled and allegedly repeatedly pointed the gun at police.
Kanouff eventually barricaded himself in his apartment on Daisy Street in Clearfield. Neighbors in the area were evacuated, and the whole standoff lasted about nine hours total, during which police repeatedly tried to convince Kanouff to give himself up peacefully and then tried using chemicals to flush him out of the apartment.
Kanouff reportedly continued to point a gun at police, and he was shot once by SERT officers and pronounced dead at the scene just before 3 a.m. Thursday.
Police officials say that, although this was certainly not the outcome they were hoping for, they are thankful that no civilians or officers were injured.
Press release from Pennsylvania State Police Troop C:
Clearfield, PA – On Wednesday, October 14, 2020, at approximately 6:00 p.m., two Clearfield Borough Police Officers conducted a traffic stop in the 300 block of Daisy Street, Clearfield Borough, Clearfield County. The driver of the vehicle was identified as, Christopher KANOUFF, W/N/M-48, of Clearfield, PA. The vehicle KANOUFF was operating displayed an expired registration plate and was suspended due to insurance cancellation.
The officers determined KANOUFF had an active Pennsylvania State Probation/Parole warrant and removed KANOUFF from the vehicle. KANOUFF pulled away and the officers observed a black semi-automatic handgun in the waistband of his pants. The officers issued verbal commands and instructed KANOUFF to lower down to his knees at gunpoint. KANOUFF ignored these commands and began to flee East on Daisy Street on foot. During the foot pursuit KANOUFF pointed his firearm at the pursuing officers several times. Police from neighboring jurisdictions responded, including Troopers from PSP Clearfield.
KANOUFF was located at 802 Daisy Street where he had barricaded himself in his apartment. Verbal contact was made with KANOUFF, however, he refused to exit the building. A perimeter was established around the apartment building utilizing local Police Officers and Troopers from Troop C, Clearfield. At this point, residents of the apartment complex were evacuated by law enforcement for their safety.
Elements from the Pennsylvania State Police Special Emergency Response Team (PSP SERT) were requested and responded to the scene. Criminal charges for KANOUFF were prepared, to include two (2) counts of Aggravated Assault and an arrest warrant was obtained for KANOUFF.
KANOUFF made threats to shoot citizens along the street during the standoff, and police instructed him several times to exit the apartment building peacefully with negative results.
Subsequently, PSP SERT deployed chemical agents into KANOUFF’S apartment, at which time he was able to break into an unoccupied adjacent apartment. Chemical agents were then deployed into that apartment. KANOUFF exited his apartment with the handgun, refused to follow commands from PSP SERT and pointed his firearm at police.
At approximately 2:50 a.m. on October 15, 2020, KANOUFF was shot by police and was pronounced dead on scene.