3 officers Killed 2 Wounded in Pittsburgh, PA Over Domestic Violence Dispute

Police officers stand by at the scene near Fairfield Street where
as many as three officers were killed this morning when they responded to a domestic call.


At least three Pittsburgh police officers were believed to be dead and two others were wounded after a man began firing at them when they responded to a domestic call this morning at his family’s home in Stanton Heights.
The gunman, identified as Richard Poplawski, surrendered to police around 11 a.m., more than three hours after the standoff began at 1016 Fairfield St. His condition was not immediately available, but he told neighbors who spoke with him on the telephone that he also had been shot.

For much of the morning, the standoff forced police to lock down much of the neighborhood as scores of police officers converged on the house where Mr. Poplawski had barricaded himself with at least one family member.

The incident began around 7:30 a.m. when a team of officers went to the address to serve a warrant and the suspect opened fire on them, police said. One of the officers reported was shot in the back, another in the chest and a third in the hand.

Some of the wounded officers remained in positions where they could not be removed immediately for treatment, according to Diane Richard, Pittsburgh Police spokeswoman.

A state police helicopter hovered over the location where more than 100 officers from Pittsburgh, the state and Port Authority converged along with neighbors and other onlookers.

Authorities as well as members of the suspect’s family also were reportedly in contact with him by phone. Pittsburgh Mayor Luke Ravenstahl is among the officials at the scene.

Mr. Poplawski, who is in his early 20s and lives in the house, according to neighbor and longtime friend Joe DiMarco. Mr. DiMarco and his mother, Darlene, said they spoke to Mr. Poplawski on the telephone this morning.

“He told me he loved me and that he’d been shot in the chest and leg,” Ms. DiMarco said.

She also said Mr. Poplawski’s mother and possibly his grandmother were in the house with him.

Another neighbor, Brian Merlina, said he was getting out of the shower at 7:30 a.m. when he heard bursts of rapid-fire shots. About 30 minutes later, he heard at least two dozen more shots fired.

Shortly thereafter, a state police helicopter landed in a field near his house. He drove a trooper from the helicopter.

Utility crews cut off power to the house at 10:45 a.m. because they believe Mr. Poplawski had been monitoring media reports.

Drew Stadler, 34, who lives nearby on Oglethorp Street, said he heard loud bangs around 8 a.m. From his window, he saw Mr. Poplawski pointing what appeared to be an automatic rifle and shooting at officers from a window over the garage of the Fairfield Street house.

SWAT officers were pinned down, with their protective shields up, at an adjacent house.

At one point, the SWAT officers pulled away a wounded officer and dragged him down the street, Mr. Stadler said. He also said he heard potentially hundreds of shots fired through the incident.

Public Slight-A Lost Opportunity for Oakland-OPD Disses Dellums & Lee


Public Slight-A Lost Opportunity for Oakland
by Attorney John Burris (lawyer for Oscar grant family)

Ron Dellums-DaveyD-HipHopNewsby Attorney John Burris (lawyer for Oscar grant family)

As an Oaklander watching the memorial services for the four slain Oakland police officers, I was astonished and disturbed when Oakland Mayor Ron Dellums did not speak at the service. I could not imagine a situation where the entire nation is watching and law enforcement officers are attending in force yet the Mayor of the City in mourning does not speak. I later came to understand that several of the officers’ families requested that the Mayor not participate in the ceremony and that the Mayor honored their wishes. It was disappointing to learn that such a request was made.

At a time of such public tragedy, it is unfortunate that the families and or members of the Department would encourage and condone such a public humiliation of the Mayor. After all, this was a public event, paid for with public funds attended by thousands many of whom came from across the country to pay respect for their fellow officers. To expressly preclude the Mayor, whose eloquence is unmatched, from speaking was essentially a public slap in the face. How could this happen, particularly when comments from family, friends and fellow officers stated how much the fallen officers loved being Oakland police officers.

I can only imagine that the men must have expressed their discontent with the Mayor’s policies toward the Department. Notwithstanding such expressions, this was truly a time for healing and not for carrying out political and personal vendettas. The better angels in those families and their advisors should have ensured that this is a time for healing, and that everyone in the City, especially the Mayor should be embraced.

barbaraleeofficial-225This public slight was even more pronounced when state-wide political leaders such as Attorney General Jerry Brown, and Senators Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were given prominent speaking roles during the ceremony yet Oakland’s highest ranking public officials, the Mayor and Congresswoman Barbara Lee did not speak. To add insult to injury, Congresswoman Barbara Lee, the Chairperson of the Congressional Black Caucus, was present on the platform yet she also did not speak, nor was she even acknowledged. To their credit both the Mayor and the Congresswoman stayed for the entire ceremony.

The memorial service was a fine tribute to the officers’ who lost their lives while working for the people of Oakland. Of course the planners of the event were certainly entitled to have the ceremony of their choice, particularly if it was paid for with private funds; but to the extent that public funds were being utilized there should have been acknowledgment of the City’s leaders who made it possible.

This was a golden opportunity to bridge the gap between the Oakland police department, the community and Oakland public officials, particularly at a time when everyone in the city is feeling the pain of this tragedy. Ron Dellums is Oakland’s Mayor in both the good and bad times and he should have been allowed to bring greetings and to express his thoughts on behalf of the residents of Oakland. Unfortunately this was a lost opportunity.

John Burris,
Attorney and Oakland Resident
Burris@lmi.net; john.burris@johnburrislaw.com