In 2013, the congressional candidate held an unarmed Black man named Christopher Miyares at gunpoint. The former mayor of Braddock, Pennsylvania, explained himself in a video ad on Tuesday after facing questions from The New York Times.
Telling his account in the ad, Fetterman said he heard a “crushing burst of gunfire” when he was outside his home with his 4-year-old son and “immediately made a series of split-second decisions.” The Pennsylvania Democrat also said he saw someone “dressed entirely in black and a face mask” running in the direction of an elementary school, The Times reported.
Miyares had simply been out jogging when he encountered Fetterman.
“I made the decision to stop him from going any further until the first responders could arrive,” Fetterman said, noting that the incident happened around the time of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
In 2013, the politician told reporters that he chased Miyares in his pickup and used a 20-gauge shotgun he kept in the truck to hold him until the police arrived.
“I believe I did the right thing,” Fetterman told WTAE-TV at the time. “But I may have broken the law during the course of it. I’m certainly not above the law.”
Miyares said in 2013 that Fetterman had pointed the gun at his chest. But the former mayor denied the accusation. The man, who is Black and was unarmed, also said the noise heard in the area came from bottle rockets set off by a group of kids.
According to the police report, “Fetterman continued to yell and state that he knows this male was shooting.” But an officer who patted down Miyares didn’t find any weapons. Police added that the 28-year-old was wearing running clothes and headphones.
Fetterman, who was in the second of his four terms as mayor, didn’t face charges related to the incident. Just last year, the wife of the Senate candidate was at the center of a racist incident when she encountered a racist woman in a grocery store parking lot.