York County District Attorney Tom Kearney issued a report Monday finding a state trooper was justified in the Sept. 23 shooting of Joshua Mosha Harding in Hanover.

The 30-year-old York County man allegedly attacked Trooper James O'Shea, overpowering him until the trooper shot Harding once in the chest, according to the report.

Harding was flown to York Hospital, where he was treated for serious injuries. Harding survived; the bullet with which he was shot remains in his body because physicians said it was "medical necessity" to leave it there, according to the report.

Kearney investigated the incident as a matter routine because the trooper discharged his firearm.

"...The issue is whether the deadly force that was used by Trooper O'Shea was reasonable under the circumstances," the report reads. "With regard to the mental state of the troopers, it would have been clear to any reasonable person that Mr. Harding presented an imminent danger of death or serious bodily injury at the time Trooper O'Shea used deadly force in the discharge of his service weapon. Accordingly, the conduct was justified and no criminal action is warranted."

The incident: Kearney's report was compiled from the police incident report, statements from civilian eyewitnesses, statements of the police officers involved, the statement of the treating paramedic, interviews with neighbors, a forensic report, and other information.


In an interview for Kearney's report, O'Shea said he arrived at 312 E. Middle St. in Hanover around 6:20 p.m. with Conewago Township Officer Matthew Kile. Both men are part of the Adams County Drug Task Force.

They were planning to serve arrest warrants on a man and a woman, two residents of a second-floor apartment in the building.

O'Shea and Kile told investigators they felt their lives were in danger when a third person in the apartment, Harding, started to attack.

The report from Trooper Jeffrey Gotwals said Harding pulled away as O'Shea was handcuffing him, "sucker-punching" the trooper. With one handcuff attached to his wrist, Harding continually punched and struck the trooper about the head and body with the fist to which the handcuff was attached, according to the report.

The handcuffs caused lacerations to O'Shea's head, and he sustained a broken finger before he fired on Harding.

According to the report, the woman who was also being arrested said Harding was her drug dealer.

She owed him money, so she would let people come to her residence to conduct drug deals with him, she told investigators. She said Harding had a large amount of heroin on him at the time of the attack, and police found the heroin in Harding's coat when they executed a search warrant.

Harding declined to be interviewed for the investigation into his shooting.

He has been charged with possession of heroin with the intent to deliver, two counts of aggravated assault, escape, resisting arrest, and two counts of simple assault.

- Reach Christina Kauffman at ckauffman@yorkdispatch.com.