Father of man killed by state police will file suit

By Patrick Kernan [email protected]

WILKES-BARRE — After his son was killed in December by police at the culmination of a massive search, stemming from the theft of a police car and the alleged kidnapping of a 15-year-old girl, a Nanticoke man filed notice of an incoming lawsuit in county court.

Sean Oliver, father of the late Jordan Patrick Oliver, filed a praecipe for writ of summons in Luzerne County Court on Monday through his attorney, Theron J. Solomon of the Wilkes-Barre-based Dyller Law Firm.

The praecipe, filed against Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Jason Rasmis, is essentially the beginning of a civil case, alerting the defendant of an upcoming suit.

The suit comes after the younger Oliver, 20, was killed by troopers with the Special Emergency Response Team in Hanover Township in December.

Oliver’s death came as the culmination of a massive search in December, after police first responded to a report of Oliver holding a knife to 15-year-old Samara Derwin’s throat at Greater Nanticoke Area High School.

During a scuffle with police, Oliver managed to mace the two officers who responded and stole their cruiser, bringing Derwin with him, according to court records.

Hours later, Oliver was located near Tomko Avenue and was killed by troopers, and Derwin was released unharmed. Forensic pathologist Dr. Gary Ross confirmed Oliver died as the result of multiple gunshot wounds.

It was not possible to reach Solomon on Monday afternoon for comment about the suit, but at the time of Jordan Oliver’s death, Sean Oliver told a Times Leader reporter that he believed his son’s death was a “set up,” as Derwin is the son of Michael Derwin, a Nanticoke police officer. Sean Oliver also called the death “100% unjustifiable.”

Court records show Derwin’s mother, Kathleen Minsavage, obtained a protection-from-abuse order against Oliver in May 2019, accusing him of having struck her daughter and threatening to kill her. The PFA also says Oliver threatened to kill himself in front of Derwin.

Reach Patrick Kernan at 570-991-6386 or on Twitter @PatKernan