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.