A Delmont man died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound during a standoff with police attempting to serve a search warrant at the man’s home Saturday in connection with a sexual assault investigation.
The Westmoreland County Coroner’s Office ruled the death of Richard S. Franco, 56, a suicide in a report issued Sunday.
According to the coroner’s report, officers from the Delmont Borough Police Department and the Westmoreland County Detective Bureau attempted to serve a search warrant at Franco’s home at 7 West Pine St. in Delmont. Police heard multiple gunshots from inside the home when attempting to make entry around 5:15 p.m.
Officers backed off after hearing the shots and a state police Special Emergency Response Team was called in to attempt to communicate with Franco. Firefighters shut down nearby Route 66 as police surrounded the home and evacuated neighbors.
Police sent specialized camera equipment into Franco’s home after the standoff had continued for several hours, and found Franco dead inside the home.
Police were at Franco’s home to serve a search warrant in connection with accusations
Franco had raped a woman at gunpoint in the home on Friday.
Charges of rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, aggravated assault and terroristic threats had been filed against Franco earlier Saturday. Those charges were dismissed following his death.
Deputy Coroner Jonathon W. Jenkins pronounced Franco dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head at 11 p.m.
An autopsy was performed Sunday by Dr. Cyril H. Wecht and Pathology Associates.
Gross Funeral Home of Penn Hills will be in charge of arrangements.