Dec 7, 2009 11:34 AM by Associated Press
A police officer responding to a domestic disturbance was shot dead as he sat in his patrol car outside a suburban Pittsburgh home where another man had been killed, authorities said.
Penn Hills Chief Howard Burton said officer Michael Crawshaw, 32, was the first to respond to a 911 call made about 8:20 p.m. Sunday, in which gunshots and screaming were heard.
Crawshaw was advised to wait in his patrol car until backup arrived when the suspect approached his car and opened fire, Burton said. Based on the number and type of cartridges found, the weapon appeared to be an assault rifle, he said.
Police were searching for a suspect on Monday morning and were seeking another man for questioning, though that man was not a suspect, Burton said.
The car was shot several times, including twice through the windshield, he said. Crawshaw was taken to UPMC Presbyterian Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 8:56 p.m.
Neighbors reported hearing 10 gunshots at the home in Penn Hills, a middle-class Allegheny County municipality about 10 miles east of Pittsburgh. No crime scene tape or other indication of the crime was visible outside the two-story brick home and no one answered the door. School children walked to bus stops in the neighborhood.
Robert Cephas, 57, who lives next door to the house, said he wasn't home at the time, but his wife and grandkids were.
"They were hitting the floor, my grandkids," when the shooting started, he said. He said many shots were fired.
Cephas said he's lived in the neighborhood for eight years, but didn't really know the woman who lived in the home where the man was found dead. He said another woman, whom he believed was the woman's daughter, had recently moved in.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's office identified the other shooting victim as Danyal Morton, 40, of Pittsburgh.
Crawshaw was a three-year veteran and had worked of the University of Pittsburgh police department, Burton said.
The slain officer is the fourth to be killed on duty in Allegheny County this year. Pittsburgh Officers Eric Kelly, Stephen Mayhle and Paul Sciullo were shot dead while responding to a call at a home in April.
The shooter in that case, Richard Poplawski, was wearing a bulletproof vest and was armed with a variety of weapons, including an AK-47 assault rifle, when the officers arrived at his mother's home, police said. He shot Sciullo inside the home and Mayhle on the front stoop within seconds and shot Kelly in the street as he arrived as backup, prompting a four-hour gun battle before he was taken into custody, they said.
Poplawski is being held in the Allegheny County jail on homicide and related charges. He has pleaded not guilty.
The last time a Penn Hills officer was killed in the line of duty was in 1972, when Sgt. William Schrott and Officer Bartley Connolly Jr. were shot while trying to catch an armed robber at a shopping center.