Newly released video footage shows a Lakemoor police officer struggle to disarm a Pennsylvania murder suspect whom another deputy shot and killed during an altercation on an isolated gravel road in July.
Investigators have spent the past five months interviewing witnesses and reviewing body cameras and police squad car video footage tied to the shooting. Last month, the Lake County State’s Attorney’s Office determined that the firing officer, Anthony Loiacono, acted in defense of himself and officer Briana Tedesco.
“At one point, Officer Tedesco was able to take a step back from the driver’s door. [Kenneth E.] Martell then raised both of his hands. Each hand was holding a revolver,” Lake County State’s Attorney Michael Nerheim wrote in a six-page report on the incident. “As Martell raised both hands in the direction of Officer Loiacono, he believed that he and fellow officer Tedesco were both in danger of being shot to death. Retreat was not an option.”
On Monday evening, authorities released dash cam and body camera footage from the Lakemoor shooting that killed the 36-year-old Martell – a suspected killer on the run from Beaver Township, Pennsylvania, where police said he stabbed an 88-year-old man to death and forced at least two others to help him dispose of the body in a nearby lake.
The situation began about 5 a.m. July 25 when Tedesco, a Lakemoor police deputy, approached a vehicle that was backed into a gravel access area at Four Seasons Boulevard and Sullivan Lake Road, Nerheim said.
Martell, who was asleep in the vehicle, awoke when Tedesco shined a flashlight through the window. He told the officer that he was napping and found the gravel area “by accident,” Nerheim has said.
The encounter took a violent turn when Tedesco asked Martell for identification and began to run the vehicle’s rear license plate.
“I just have to make sure you don’t have any warrants or anything, which I’m sure you don’t,” Tedesco can be heard telling the man in the vehicle, who initially identified himself by a false name.
When Tedesco asked Martell for ID, video footage shows the man hand her a piece of paper before calmly reaching for a gun and pointing it at the officer through a rolled-down driver’s side window.
A struggle ensued as Tedesco tried to disarm Martell, who reached for a second handgun, police have said. In the video footage, Tedesco can be heard screaming “No!” and “Please don’t shoot me!”
That’s when backup officer Loiacono arrived at the scene. He approached the vehicle, told Martell to drop his weapon, then fired a single shot at Martell. Autopsy results showed that Martell died from a gunshot wound to the head.
The Lake County Major Crimes Task Force investigated the incident and learned that on July 23, Martell allegedly tied, robbed, beat and stabbed to death 88-year-old Theodore Garver in his Beaver Township home in Pennsylvania.
After the stabbing, Martell abducted other people at gunpoint and forced them to help him dump the body in a lake near Garver’s home, Nerheim wrote in a December news release.
There was an active warrant out for Martell’s arrest at the time of the shooting. He also previously told friends and family that “cops were going to kill him over a drug bust” and that he was “not going down without a fight,” according to the report from the state’s attorney’s office.
A toxicology report confirmed Martell’s family’s statement to police that Martell used illegal drugs, including methamphetamine.