UPDATED PRESS RELEASE 20-0001206 02/01/2021
On Sunday, January 31, 2021 at 6:45 a.m. the Swatara Township Police were dispatched to the 4100 block of York Street for a domestic dispute. Upon arrival the officers were advised that the Complainant and Tarahjay Ross were engaged in a dispute over the custody of their eight month old infant son. This dispute ended in the Complainant sustaining physical injuries during the dispute and Tarahjay Ross leaving the scene of this domestic violence incident with the child against the will of the child’s mother.
The Complainant was very concerned for the safety of her child as Mr. Ross was acting in a very hostile, agitated and irrational manner. At 8:27 a.m. she was able to track her cell phone that was still inside the vehicle operated by Mr. Ross and found that it was in the area of 16th and State Streets in Harrisburg City. Officers from the Harrisburg Bureau of Police located and attempted to stop the vehicle, however, upon seeing the Harrisburg police units Mr. Ross chose to flee from the police at a high rate of speed at which time the Harrisburg officers discontinued their effort in stopping the vehicle as Mr. Ross was placing himself, the infant and the public in danger.
Officers from the Pennbrook Borough Police Department located the vehicle shortly after it fled from Harrisburg City and also attempted to stop it. However, Mr. Ross again chose to flee from the police officers at a high rate of speed again endangering the welfare of himself, the infant and the public. The Penbrook police officers discontinued pursuit of the vehicle when Mr. Ross began driving in a highly reckless, dangerous manner.
At 9:37 a.m. Mr. Ross located the Complainant and followed her to the CVS store located in the 3800 block of Derry Street in Swatara Township. At this time Mr. Ross was acting in a very agitated, hostile and irrational manner during which he removed the infant from a car seat inside his vehicle, showed the infant to the infant’s mother and stated “I will throw him in the river” and “If you keep trying to save him, he’s going to die with you”. Mr. Ross put the infant back into his vehicle and fled from the CVS parking lot in a very hostile, reckless manner.
Swatara officers had been working on tracking Mr. Ross’s location and were able to locate his current position at 11:16 a.m. in the area of Park Terrace in Paxtang Borough. Swatara officers located Mr. Ross’s vehicle and attempted to stop the vehicle in the area of park Terrace and Derry Street. Mr. Ross again fled from the police at a high rate of speed driving in a dangerous manner westbound on Derry Street into Harrisburg City. Mr. Ross was observed traveling at a high rate of speed and passing cars in the opposing lane of traffic on hazardous, weather related, road conditions. Due to Mr. Ross’s reckless actions this police officer immediately discontinued pursuit of the vehicle in an effort to ensure the safety of Mr. Ross, the infant and the public.
At this time the Swatara Police determined that any future attempts to apprehend Mr. Ross would be conducted in unmarked vehicles so as not to create any unnecessary safety hazards. Swatara Police Detectives operating unmarked cars located Mr. Ross’s in the 800 block of Pine Street at which time they began following the vehicle. They covertly followed Mr. Ross’s vehicle as he drove through Steelton Borough and entered into Highspire Boro on Rt. 230. Upon entering Highspire Borough there were several Swatara Police unmarked vehicles in the area. Mr. Ross attempted to turn around in the area of Second Street and Logan Avenue during which his vehicle came to a stop.
At this time the Swatara Police unmarked units utilized legal intervention techniques in an effort to apprehend Mr. Ross. While doing so two of the Swatara Police unmarked units sustained significant damage from other vehicles. This impact displaced the police vehicles and allowed Mr. Ross’s vehicle to leave the scene where he drove his vehicle in reverse for several hundred feet south on Second Street.
The undamaged Swatara Police unmarked units continued to pursue Mr. Ross’s vehicle south on Second Street to the I-283 / Airport connector where tire deflation devices were deployed in an attempt to safely disable Mr. Ross’s vehicle. Mr. Ross’s vehicle struck one of these devices and sustained damage to one of his vehicle’s tires. Mr. Ross continued his flight from the police officers by continuing to travel on the Airport connector towards the I-283 interchange. Mr. Ross continued his attempts to elude the police officers and drove off of the I-283 on-ramp, through the berm and onto I-283 north towards Swatara Township. At 11:40 a.m. the Dauphin County 911 center advised all involved officers that another female had just called 911 to report that Tarahjay Ross had called her and had threatened to kill both himself and the infant.
At 11:44 a.m., Swatara Township and Lower Swatara Township officers were in place in the area of mile marker 1.1 where they were prepared to deploy additional tire deflation devices when Mr. Ross lost control of his vehicle, slid off the roadway and rolled the vehicle onto its side. Upon coming to a rest multiple officers approached the disabled vehicle and immediately gained access through the windows in an effort to protect the infant’s life. The officers acted decisively and at great peril a Swatara Twp. Sergeant entered the vehicle through a side window in order to protect the infant from Mr. Ross as he had previously threatened to kill the infant.
The Sergeant remained in the vehicle to shield the infant from harm while the other officers removed Mr. Ross from the vehicle. Upon removing Mr. Ross from the vehicle the officers gained his physical control and placed him into custody within twenty three seconds of his removal from the vehicle. Both the infant and Mr. Ross were transported to local hospitals for evaluation. Several officers sustained minor injuries during the course of this incident.
Tarahjay Ross has been charged with Aggravated Assault, Endangering the Welfare of a Child, Terroristic Threats, Recklessly Endangering another Person, Harassment, Fleeing or Eluding Police, Accidents Involving Damage, Reckless Driving and Careless Driving.