Ex-Trooper Kills 2 in Failed Turnpike Holdup

Former Pa. trooper was shot dead at scene
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 21, 2016 4:49 AM CDT
Ex-Trooper Kills 2 in Failed Turnpike Holdup
Police investigate the scene at Exit 180 off of the Pennsylvania Turnpike.   (Daniel Zampogna)

A retired state trooper killed a turnpike toll collector and a security guard in a holdup attempt at a toll plaza and then was shot dead by troopers while trying to escape with the money, authorities say. Clarence Briggs, who retired four years ago, confronted two Pennsylvania Turnpike toll collectors with a handgun on Sunday morning at the Fort Littleton toll plaza in Dublin Township, 65 miles west of Harrisburg, police say. Briggs ordered both into an adjoining office and tried to tie them up but fled after a struggle, they said, adding that both employees left the building as a fare collection vehicle arrived and a security guard emerged.

Cops say Briggs then shot and killed one of the toll collectors, Danny Crouse, 55, who had been on the job for less than three months, and Ronald Heist, a 71-year-old retired York police officer who was working as turnpike security. Briggs then reportedly fired at the fare collection vehicle. After the driver fled, he's said to have jumped into the vehicle and driven it to his car, parked a few hundred yards away, where he reportedly started unloading money from the collection vehicle. Troopers arrived within minutes and exchanged fire with Briggs, who was wounded and died at the scene, police say. Briggs, 55, retired in January 2012 with an honorable discharge after 26 years. He had been assigned to turnpike patrol and was believed to be familiar with collection procedures, the AP reports. (More Pennsylvania stories.)

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