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NVT Commissioners: Police Officers Likely Saved Shooting Victim's Life

By Richard Finch Jr.
The Tube City Almanac
July 24, 2019
Posted in: North Versailles Twp. News

North Versailles Twp. Commissioner Russell Saula acknowledged township police officers for going “above and beyond” to help save the life of a shooting victim earlier this month.

The officers responded to a shooting inside the North Versailles Walmart the evening of July 5. A 25-year old female was shot several times and taken to an area hospital in critical condition.

“I don’t know if everybody understands the severity of that woman’s” injury, Saula said at Thursday’s meeting. “Two of our cops, Steve Shawley and Travis Pomaibo, probably, if they didn’t save her life, they helped save her life.”

Police Chief James Matrazzo said the victim would have “bled out” from a bullet wound to her hand that traveled through the victim’s femur and pierced her femoral artery, according to information from the trauma surgeon who operated on the victim.

“The officers are part of the tactical response team, trained in tactical, medical and Stop the Bleed techniques, they were able to apply a tourniquet and plug the bullet hole,” Matrazzo said after the meeting.

Stop the Bleed is a national awareness campaign being coordinated by UPMC and the Copeland Regional Trauma Council that provides training to both law enforcement officers as well as civilians to stop bleeding with dressings, compression and tourniquets in an emergency situation before professional help arrives.

A 22-year-old Penn Hills woman, Rojanai Germaine Alston, is charged by Allegheny County police in connection with the shooting.

During a preliminary hearing July 18 before Magisterial District Judge Roxanne Sakoian Eichler, Alston was ordered held for court on a charge of aggravated assault filed by Allegheny County police. A charge of attempted homicide was withdrawn.

Alston is free on bond pending formal arraignment Sept. 4 in the Allegheny County Common Pleas Court.


In other business, Commissioner Tracy Yusko, on behalf of the Parks and Recreation department, announced the receipt of an additional $120,000 in grant funds from the Allegheny County Community Infrastructure and Tourism Fund for Phase II renovations at Fairhaven Park.

Commissioners also voted to authorize the following:

Accept a quote from Kernan Asphalt Sealing Inc., of Bethel Park in the amount of $8,695 to seal and line the front and side parking lot at the municipal building.

Accept the bid from JT Masonry LLC in the amount of $46,500 for work on the restrooms at West Wilmerding Park.

A motion to authorize the Parks and Recreation director to attend the Pennsylvania Greenways and Trails Summit in Shippensburg from Sept. 22 to 24 at a cost not to exceed $675. Commissioner George Beswick voted against the motion.

A motion to approve the sale of 2608 Crestas Avenue to Melvin Gooden in the amount of $6,000 and authorized the president of the board to sign the deed.

A motion to accept the quote of $18,912.00 from Urban Construction to repair drainage problems on Pittsburgh Street.

A motion to accept the quote through CoStars from BearCom for repairs to the police radio system in the amount of $32,781.

A motion to authorize Keystone Collections to file liens on 297 properties with past-due 2016 taxes totaling $17,820.

A motion to remit a $40,000 donation to the library for 2019.


Richard Finch Jr. is a freelance writer who covers news from McKeesport Area School District and North Versailles Twp. for Tube City Almanac. He may be reached at finchr43@gmail.com.

Originally published July 24, 2019.

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