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City police were responding to domestic dispute
BREAKING STORY: This is a breaking story and is subject to change.
Mayor: ‘Pray for our city and we’ll get through this’ ...
Suspect in custody following incident
A city police officer is dead and another was seriously wounded following an incident Monday afternoon near the intersection of Versailles and Grandview avenues.
The area was closed to the public and motorists and pedestrians were advised to avoid the neighborhood. The nearby McKeesport Area High School campus was placed on exterior lockdown, though classes were dismissed at the usual time.
UPMC McKeesport hospital also was closed to everyone except emergency personnel and patients.
McKeesport Mayor Michael Cherepko, police Chief Adam Alfer and state Sen. Jim Brewster joined Allegheny County police at a press conference just before 4 p.m.
“Please keep the family in your prayers, and all police officers in your prayers at this time,” Cherepko said, his voice breaking. “Pray for our city and we’ll get through this.”
The names of the officers involved have not yet been made public. It is the first death of a McKeesport police officer in the line of duty since 1993.
Allegheny County police said city officers responded at around 12:30 p.m. to what was described as a “domestic dispute” between a mother and her adult son at a home on Wilson Street, about a block from the intersection of Grandview and Versailles.
Investigators said the suspect walked away as police attempted to question him. A family member warned the officers that the suspect might be armed.
County police Superintendent Christopher Kearns said that as the suspect walked along Grandview Avenue, with the officers behind him, he suddenly turned and fired, striking them.
The suspect then continued on foot to the intersection of Patterson and Versailles avenues, county police said, where he encountered another McKeesport police officer and opened fire. That police officer returned fire, striking the suspect and wounding him.
Emergency personnel said one of the police officers was reportedly shot in the face and neck, and the other in the chest and legs, but those details have not been confirmed.
One police officer was taken to the emergency room of UPMC McKeesport hospital, where he reportedly died of his wounds. The other was flown by medical helicopter to a Pittsburgh trauma hospital where he was in emergency surgery.
County investigators said the wounded officer was in stable condition on Monday afternoon.
Officials said the suspect also was flown by helicopter to a Pittsburgh trauma hospital. He also was reportedly in stable condition.
A neighbor who attempted to intervene also sustained a minor wound, but declined treatment, police said.
Dozens of police officers from throughout the Mon-Yough area converged on the scene, and the McKeesport Area High School campus was put on exterior lockdown. The lockdown was later lifted and classes were scheduled for dismissal as usual, though school district officials cautioned that some bus routes would be disrupted or re-routed due to road closures near the campus.
A police procession was scheduled to escort the late officer’s body to the morgue from UPMC McKeesport hospital. Police officers from throughout the region had cordoned off the hospital while waiting for the Allegheny County medical examiner’s office to arrive.
Alfer declined comment on Monday afternoon, deferring to county investigators.
“I don’t have much to say right now,” he said. “I don’t want to give out any additional details right now. I want to make sure the families are all notified first.”
Kearns said that neighbors and nearby business owners had been “very helpful” and have given investigators “a lot of vital information.”
Anyone who may have witnessed events was being encouraged to reach out to Allegheny County police at 1-833-ALL-TIPS.
County police said the suspect, whose name also has not been made public, is “known” to McKeesport police. “They have dealt with him before,” said one investigator.
Charges are being prepared against the suspect, police said.
Originally published February 06, 2023.