Koby Lee Francis, 22, is the Pennsylvania man accused of shooting a police officer while under arrest on December 20. The shooting happened outside of the McKeesport Police station and a surveillance camera recorded the incident, according to the Allegheny County Police Department. The officer was shot three times but was expected to recover as his injuries were not life-threatening.
The man identified as Francis could be seen fleeing as the officer returns fire. Francis’ hands were still in handcuffs as he ran away.
As of this writing, Francis was still on the run. Police have described Francis as “armed and dangerous” and ask anyone who sees him to call 911 immediately.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Koby Francis Violated a ‘Protection from Abuse’ Order When He Tried to Get His Infant Child From a Relative’s House, Police Say
Francis was arrested just over an hour after he was issued a “Protection from Abuse.” According to the Allegheny County Police, Francis walked into the McKeesport Police station at 2:55 p.m. on December 20, received the order and immediately left again. The Pennsylvania Office of Victim Services describes this type of order on its website:
A Protection From Abuse (PFA) Order is a court order issued by a judge that can provide you protective “relief” from someone who is abusing you, for up to three years. An individual who is 18 years of age or more, or teens and children who are accompanied by a parent, an adult household member, or a guardian ad litem, can go to court and ask for a PFA. A PFA can make it illegal for the abuser to contact you or your children.
WPXI-TV, citing a law enforcement source, reported the order covered Francis’ 4-month-old baby “and another individual.” According to the outlet, Francis went to a home in Harrison Village after leaving the police station and tried to break in through the door. CBS Pittsburgh added that, according to the criminal complaint, “Francis was attempting to get his infant child from a relative who was babysitting.” The police responded to Harrison Village but Francis had left by the time officers arrived.
Police soon received another call about Francis’ whereabouts. WTAE-TV reported that the person who had asked for the protection order called the police after spotting Francis in the parking lot along Yester Square in McKeesport. According to the news release by Allegheny County Police, police found Francis sitting “in a vehicle outside of the residence, a violation of the PFA order.”
2. Police Described Francis as ‘Combative’ During the Arrest & That He Had a Second Firearm
When police arrested him outside of the home on Yester Square, Francis had a firearm in the vehicle with him. Officers confiscated that weapon, according to a news release.
Francis did not go quietly, the Allegheny County Police said. The department described Francis as “combative” during the arrest and that he even “kicked out a window of the car” during the ride to the McKeesport Police station. WPXI-TV reported one officer stayed at the scene and a second officer, later identified as Gerasimos Athans, drove Francis to the station.
The surveillance camera at the police station recorded a portion of what happened next. The video is embedded above and can also be seen here. Athans got out of the vehicle and walked to the other side to let Francis out. Immediately after opening the door, Athans backs away with his head tilted to one side and appears to be in pain as he walks to the front of the vehicle. Francis jumps out of the vehicle and points a gun at Athans again. Athans returned fire as Francis turns to run away.
According to Allegheny County Police, “Francis had been handcuffed with his arms behind him” when he was taken into custody. But by the time they arrived at the McKeesport Police station, the handcuffs were in front of his body.
During a news conference about the case, Allegheny County Police Superintendent Coleman McDonough was asked about how and why Francis still had access to a gun after he was put in the police vehicle. According to WTAE-TV, McDonough confirmed that Francis had been searched for weapons but “as far as the mechanism of the search, that’s a matter to be taken up by McKeesport police administration. Whether he complied with McKeesport policy, that’s part of their internal investigation after the fact. That’s not our priority here. Our priority is bringing Mr. Francis to justice.”
CBS Pittsburgh reported that investigators found a “silver .32-caliber Smith & Wesson revolver in an alleyway” near the police station.
3. Officer Athans Was Shot 3 Times & Francis Faces Charges Including Attemped Homicide
Athans, 32, was shot once in the neck and twice in the left shoulder, CBS Pittsburgh reported. He was rushed to a nearby hospital and was expected to be released in a couple of days. Allegheny County Police said Athans’ injuries were not life-threatening. Athans has been with the McKeesport Police for four years.
The manhunt for Francis is a multi-department effort. In addition to the McKeesport and Allegheny County Police, the following departments are assisting with the investigation: the Allegheny County Sheriff’s Office, the Pennsylvania State Police, the state Attorney General’s Office, the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police and federal agencies the US Marshal’s Office and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
Police say Francis faces the following charges:
- Criminal attempted homicide
- Flight to avoid apprehension
- Aggravated Assault
- Violation of the Uniform Firearms Act
4. Francis Was on Probation After Pleading Guilty to a Drug Charge in 2019
Francis was on probation when he was served the Protection from Abuse order. According to a search of Allegheny County court records, Francis was arrested in December 2018 and faced at least 16 charges,. The majority of the counts were for “Manufacture, Delivery, or Possession With Intent to Manufacture or Deliver.” Bail was set at $5,000. The record suggests Francis may have posted it but the bond was revoked on January 7, 2019.
On June 5, 2019, Francis agreed to plead guilty to at least three of the drug charges in exchange for a reduced sentence. The rest of the charges were withdrawn. According to the court docket, Francis faced a jail sentence between six months and one year. But he received credit for time served and was placed on probation for two years. The record shows the judge further ordered that Francis “Obey all laws. Do not operate a motor vehicle without a license. Refrain from the use of unprescribed medications.”
5. Francis Pleaded Guilty In a 2017 Theft Case
Francis pleaded guilty to a lesser charge in a 2017 case and received a three-year probation sentence. Allegheny County court records show Francis was arrested on October 24, 2017, by the Mckeesport Police. He faced the following charges:
- Conspiracy – theft by unlawful taking of movable property
- Receiving stolen property
- Possession of a prohibited firearm
- Firearms not to be carried without a license
- Conspiracy – robbery- inflict or threaten bodily injury
The court docket shows Francis pleaded guilty to the first charge, which was a misdemeanor. The other charges were withdrawn due to the plea agreement.