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Funeral Set for Slain City Police Officer

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
February 08, 2023
Posted in: Crime and Police News

A McKeesport police officer who was shot by a suspect on Monday afternoon will be laid to rest on Valentine’s Day.

A Mass of Christian burial for Sean Sluganski, 32, is scheduled for Tuesday at St. Albert the Great Church of Blessed Trinity Parish in Baldwin Borough.

Sluganski’s funeral arrangements are in charge of John F. Slater Funeral Home in Brentwood, which announced Wednesday that friends and family will be received from 12 noon to 8 p.m. Sunday and from 2 to 8 p.m. Monday.

Earlier, an Allegheny County spokeswoman asked members of the media to stop contacting the Sluganski family.

“The amount of contact is overwhelming to them right now and, as you might imagine, is not welcome as they prepare to say goodbye,” county spokeswoman Amie Downs said in an email to all local media.

Sluganski’s home in McKeesport’s Haler Heights neighborhood is currently being protected by Allegheny County sheriff’s deputies to shoo away reporters and well-wishers.

Sluganski and another McKeesport police officer, Charles Thomas Jr., 35, were shot on Monday afternoon after being sent to the Grandview section of the city in response to a domestic disturbance on Wilson Street.

Allegheny County police have charged Johnathan Jermia Morris, 31, with criminal homicide, aggravated assault, assault on a law-enforcement officer and attempted murder of a law-enforcement officer in connection with the shootings.

Morris, who remains hospitalized from wounds he received in the incident, has not yet been arraigned.

On Wednesday, the Tribune-Review reported that Morris had served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 2011 to 2018.

Citing unidentified law-enforcement sources, the Trib’s Paula Reed Ward reported that in January, Morris called a Florida branch of the Navy Federal Credit Union and threatened to go on “a killing spree.”

Ward wrote that McKeesport police investigated the claim but Morris was not charged.

Ward reported that on Sunday, Morris was suspected of firing three shots outside of a local convenience store. No charges have been filed in connection with that incident, Ward reported.

Online fundraising campaigns have been set up to benefit the Sluganski and Thomas families.

A GoFundMe for Sluganski’s family, set up by Melissa Vargo, has raised more than $138,000.

Another, for Thomas, created by his sister, has raised more than $4,100.

Thomas, who is recovering at home following surgery at a Pittsburgh hospital, posted on Facebook that a fake GoFundMe had also been created in his name, without his permission. “I know people want (to) help,” he said. “I thank you.”

Originally published February 08, 2023.

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