READING (AP) — An eastern Pennsylvania police officer fired after mistakenly killing a fellow officer during a shootout nearly a decade ago will be eligible for a $36,000 annual pension in June, according to records reviewed by a newspaper.
Reading’s mayor and police chief said James Palange, 39, qualifies for the pension because he remained on paid suspension for six years while appealing his termination, The Reading Eagle reported.
He had 13 years on the force, counting the suspension time, more than the dozen needed to be vested.
Mayor Vaughn Spencer and Chief William Heim both declined to say what took so long, saying it was a personnel matter.
In June 2004, three undercover officers were trying to arrest Andrew Smith, 24, in connection with an earlier shooting.
A shootout began, and Palange pulled up on what he said appeared to him to be rival gangs firing at each other.
He opened fire, and one bullet ricocheted and killed officer Michael Wise II, 32, of Myerstown, who was in the car.