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Three police officers shot in Pittsburgh
by kdka
Saturday Apr 4th, 2009 1:15 PM
PITTSBURGH (KDKA/AP) ― Police have identified 23 year-old Richard Poplawski, as seen here on his MySpace page, as the gunmen.

A man opened fire on officers during a domestic disturbance call Saturday morning, killing three of them, a police official said.

Friends said 23 year-old Richard Poplawski feared the Obama administration was poised to ban guns. Three officers were killed.

Police planned to release more details at a 3 p.m. news conference Saturday. Poplawski was arrested after a several-hour standoff. One witness reported hearing hundreds of shots.
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.
by ;
Sunday Apr 5th, 2009 2:20 PM
good riddance
(CNN) -- Three Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, police officers became the first department fatalities since 1995 Saturday morning while responding to a domestic dispute call, Police Chief Nathan Harper said.

"We have never had to lose three officers in the line of duty at one time at one call," Harper said.

Suspect Richard Poplawski surrendered around 11 a.m. outside the Stanton Heights home he shares with his mother after a standoff that lasted nearly four hours and left two more officers injured.

Wearing a bulletproof vest and armed with an AK-47, a long rifle and a pistol, Poplawski fired about 100 rounds during the standoff, Harper said.

Poplawski was taken into custody after surrendering to law enforcement. He is expected to face charges of homicide, aggravated assault and other related offenses, Harper said.

Officer Paul Sciullo III, a 14-year veteran of the department, was the first to approach the home after responding to the scene around 7:05 a.m. He was shot in the head as he entered the doorway.

When Officer Stephen Mayhle tried to help his fellow officer, he too was shot in the head, Harper said.
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Officer Eric Kelly, who rushed to the scene on his way home after finishing his shift, was fatally shot as he attempted to assist his fallen colleagues, Harper said.

The shootings triggered a standoff between Poplawski, who was shooting from his bedroom window, and law enforcement agencies from several jurisdictions, Harper said.

Poplawski opened fire at an Army SWAT vehicle that arrived around 8:30 a.m., preventing them and medics from reaching the wounded policemen.
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Officer Timothy McManaway also was shot in the hand, the chief said. Another officer, Brian Jones, broke his leg while trying to get over a fence while securing the rear of the house, he said.

Some neighbors were evacuated during the standoff. Neighbors reported that the family had caused trouble before and Harper said police had responded to calls from the home two or three times.