DUBLIN TOWNSHIP, Pa. (WHTM) – State Police announced the identities of those killed during a deadly robbery on the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Sunday. The suspect was identified as a retired State Police Trooper.
State Police say the suspect in Sunday morning’s toll booth heist was retired PA State Trooper Clarence Briggs, 55. Briggs retired in 2012 and was killed after a shootout with State Police Troopers.
Officials say retired York City Police Officer Ronald Heist, 72, a private armed guard helping to collect money, was also killed. The toll booth worker killed was Daniel Crouse.
“On behalf of my fellow Turnpike commissioners and everybody in the PA Turnpike family, we are all deeply saddened by this horrific tragedy,” said Turnpike Chairman Sean Logan. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family and friends of the deceased victims, the turnpike employee and the contractor. We cannot imagine what the families must be feeling right now. Certainly, today will be a day that none of us will soon forget.”
Police say the shooting occurred shortly before 7:30 a.m. at the toll booths near Exit 180 for Fort Littleton.
State Police say Briggs interrupted two toll booth employees working and forced them into the office building at gunpoint. Briggs attempted to tie up both employees: Crouse and another unidentified worker. Officials say a struggle ensued, and the two employees were able to escape.
At the same time, a fare collection van with armed security guard Ronald Hesit pulled up. State Police say Heist and Crouse confronted Briggs who shot and killed them both.
Briggs then fired shots at the van’s driver, who was able to escape unharmed. Officials say Briggs jumped in the van and took off toward his car parked a few hundred feet away to a parking lot across State Route 522.
While Briggs was unloading the money into his car, State Police arrived on scene within minutes and confronted Briggs. State Police say an exchange of gunfire ensued, and Briggs was shot and killed. The responding trooper was not hurt.
Police say Briggs spent 26 years as a PA State Trooper with Troop T in Newville, where he also lived.