The Wave of Cop-Killing Ambushes Reaches the Heartland, S.W. PA., Canonsburg–1 Dead

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One officer shot dead, another wounded in ‘ambush’ in Canonsburg

pittsburgh post gazette

canonsburgSWAT officers are at the scene of a shooting that wounded two officers early this morning.   Darrell Sapp/Post-Gazette

One Canonsburg police was shot to death and another wounded in a shooting this morning. A SWAT team is on scene in another part of the borough where they believe the shooter is located.

State police said one officer was flown to a Pittsburgh hospital for medical treatment and a second officer was taken by ambulance to Canonsburg Hospital. One of the officers later died of his wounds. Police did not say which hospital he had been taken to.

Their names have not been released.

State police Trooper Melinda Bonderanka said the officers responded to a call of a domestic issue at 3:14 a.m. in the 100 block of Woodcrest Road and were ”ambushed upon their arrival.”

Homes in the Woodcrest Road area were evacuated and all other residents in the peripheral area were being told to “stay in place” while police search for the suspect.

Trooper Bonderanka would not say where police were specifically targeting their search but police, firefighters and the Washington County sheriff’s office have blocked off a stretch of road near the intersection of Bluff Avenue and West Pike Street.

Much of the view is blocked by fire trucks, but a white tent and an ambulance can be seen further up the street.

Departments on the scene include Peters, North Strabane, Hanover, state police and others.

Canon-McMillan School District has cancelled classes for today and Chartiers-Houston School District is on a two-hour delay because of the shooting.

District Judge David Mark, of Canonsburg, said he knows the slain officer and his family well.

“He is a great guy, top to bottom, one of the best people I know inside and out,”  District Judge Mark said. “I can’t imagine what the family is going through.”

Keith Jacob, of 126 Woodcrest Drive, said he lives two doors down from where the shooting took place and heard gunshots this morning.

“That’s what woke me up. Then I thought I heard someone say ‘My partner’s down’ ” he said.

He said the couple who live at the house where the shooting occurred have had past domestic problems.

“She has had a [protection from abuse order] against him … there have been back and forth disputes going on,” said Mr. Jacob, who also said the woman was two months pregnant.

Richard Crothers, 48, who lives on Pike Street, said he heard sirens about 3:30 a.m. He thought he saw an ambulance followed by two police cars “and then all hell broke loose.”

“This here is just unbelievable,” he said, noting that there are rarely police on the street, except to pull over speeders who use it as a pass through to Cecil when they get off Interstate 79.

Police have been on his street all morning. He watched shortly before 8 a.m. as a SWAT truck and then a bomb squad unit pulled in.

“This is the craziest it’s been,” he said.

He said police didn’t tell him what’s been going on but did tell him to stay inside for a long stretch. He said the snippets he’s heard came from the news.

Karen Kane: kkane@post-gazette.com or at 724-772-9180. Liz Navratil: lnavratil@post-gazette.com.

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