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Three police officers shot in Pittsburgh
PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) ― Police have identified 23 year-old Richard Poplawski, as seen here on his MySpace page, as the gunmen.
The shootings occurred just two weeks after four police officers were fatally shot March 21 in Oakland, Calif., in the deadliest day for U.S. law enforcement since Sept. 11, 2001.
Poplawski's friends at the scene described him as a young man who thought the Obama administration would ban guns.
One friend, Edward Perkovic, said Poplawski feared "the Obama gun ban that's on the way" and "didn't like our rights being infringed upon."
Another longtime friend, Aaron Vire, said he feared that President Obama was going to take away his rights, though he said he "wasn't violently against Obama."
Perkovic, a 22-year-old who said he was Poplawski's best friend, said he got a call at work from him in which he said, "Eddie, I am going to die today. ... Tell your family I love them and I love you."
Perkovic said: "I heard gunshots and he hung up. ... He sounded like he was in pain, like he got shot."
Vire, 23, said Poplawski once had an Internet talk show but that it wasn't successful.
Vire said his friend had an AK-47 rifle and several powerful handguns, including a .357 Magnum.
Another friend, Joe DiMarco, said Poplawski had been laid off from his job at a glass factory earlier this year.
DiMarco said he didn't know the name of the company, but knew Poplawski had been upset about losing his job.
The officers were called to the home in the Stanton Heights neighborhood at about 7 a.m.
Tom Moffitt, 51, a city firefighter who lives two blocks away, said he heard about the shooting on his scanner and came to the scene, where he heard "hundreds, just hundreds of shots. And not just once - several times."
Rob Gift, 45, who lives a block away, said he heard rapid gunfire as he was letting his dog out.
He said the neighborhood of well-kept single-family houses and manicured lawns is home to many police officers, firefighters, paramedics and other city workers.
"It's just a very quiet neighborhood," Gift said.