Friendly Fire to Blame in Shooting of Baldwin Boro Police Officer

The shooting occurred at around 4 a.m. on Sunday at a home on Elmwood Drive.

A Baldwin Borough police sergeant remains in stable condition at a Pittsburgh-area hospital, where he is being treated for gunshot wounds in his hip/lower back area, according to Allegheny County police Superintendent Charles Moffatt.

Baldwin Council Vice President Michael Stelmasczyk confirmed that the injured officer is Sgt. Ralph Miller.

Miller was injured by two rifle blasts from another Baldwin police officer while they and a third Baldwin officer were responding to a domestic disturbance at 5147 Elmwood Dr. in Baldwin (near the Wallace Building) at around 4 Sunday morning.

The other two officers are not being identified and have been placed on administrative leave, Baldwin Police Chief Michael Scott said.

"We want to make sure that they're OK before they come back to work," Scott said.

The leave will include counseling.

"We want to make sure that their needs are met, too," Scott said.

The shooting of Miller is being treated as accidental, Moffatt and Scott said during a news conference at the county police headquarters on Sunday.

The third officer also fired his weapon but did not hit anyone.

"The injured officer did not fire," Moffatt explained. "The officer behind him fired his weapon twice. There was another officer still further away from the house. He hears the shots, sees the officer go down. He levels his weapon and fires once, striking the outside of the home.

"We believe that the (injured) officer was hit twice. We didn't find any other slugs at the home."

Officers were sent to the scene after a woman who lives at 5147 Elmwood called police to tell them that her boyfriend, who also lives there, was holding a gun and was threatening to harm himself, Moffatt said.

She eventually told police that her boyfriend had calmed down and was no longer making such threats, but police—the three Baldwin officers and one Whitehall Borough officer—responded to the scene.

Miller approached the home in front of the other officers. At that point, one of the Baldwin officers behind him discharged his rifle, striking the sergeant.

As to why the officer pulled the trigger, "That's what we're still trying to sort out," Moffatt said.

Scott said that Miller, a police officer for 14 years, is "in good spirits" and is "supportive" of the officer who injured him.

No other injuries have been reported, and at this point, the residents of 5147 Elmwood are not being identified nor charged with any crimes.

"At this time, there's no charges," Moffatt said. "We're going to confer with the (district attorney) and see if there's any other charges that should (be filed). We're looking at possible charges not connected with the shooting."

Two children were inside of the home at the time of the shooting—a 17-month-old and a 6-year-old, Moffatt said.

The boyfriend's gun, a shotgun, was found outside of the home, Moffatt said.

"It was thrown out of a window outside of the home, in the rear of the home. We don't know when it was thrown."

With three officers unavailable until futher notice, Scott said that Baldwin Borough police will receive assistance covering their jurisdiction from Pennsylvania State police and police from neighboring municipalities.

A knock at the door of 5147 Elmwood at around 12:30 p.m. on Sunday went unanswered. Next-door neighbor Dave Shearer, who has lived at his Baldwin home for about six years, said that he was awake at the time of the shooting and heard all three loud bangs.

Another neighbor, who did not wish to be indentified, said that the folks at 5147 Elmwood were usually "very quiet."

"They're nice people," she said. "They're very nice. They're quiet. We'll see 'em out a couple times and say hi, exchange a few words. We never thought anything like that."

Said Stelmasczyk, "This was a tragic event, and my sympathy goes out to Sgt. Miller and his family. I wish him a speedy recovery."


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cc February 14, 2013 at 12:55 PM
Pitt#983, according to the State Site, they only have to be certified every 2 years on guns, not one. It is in their best interest to get additional training as Baldwin thinks it is the Old West and it is ok to just shoot their guns at anyone. Your comments are also pathetic and your a moron.
Margaret French February 14, 2013 at 03:04 PM
O lny srmat poelpe can raed tihs. I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulaclty uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, t he olny iprmoatnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be in the rgh it pclae. The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit a porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe. Amzanig huh? yaeh and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt! if you can raed tihs psas it on !!"
PITT#983 February 14, 2013 at 04:11 PM
cc again you prove that you do not research your topic or better yet you do not know where to look so you my friend sound like the "pathetic moroon". Here it is right of the MPOTEC website: Firearms Requirements by Mr. Rudy M. Grubesky, Commission Staff As required by 37 Pa. Code §203.12 (3) (i) and §203.52 (b) (1) (i), the Municipal Police Officers' Education and Training Commission is hereby publishing police firearms course requirements: The handgun course of fire for the police firearms course that all Waiver of training applicants must successfully complete with a minimum score of 75% and all police officers must successfully complete annually in order to satisfy mandatory in-service re-certification requirements will meet the following minimum standards: This is what happens when you open your mouth about a subject you know NOTHING about cc. It is kinda fun though cause you think you know it all! I told you before some of us are SHEEP and some of us are WOLVES> We all know what you are...have a great day!!
Robert Edward Healy, III February 25, 2013 at 08:52 PM
"Charges Filed Against Man in Baldwin Police Shooting": http://patch.com/A-2pwb
Robert Edward Healy, III March 11, 2013 at 05:48 PM
"Blood Drive in Honor of Sgt. Miller Set for Tuesday": http://patch.com/A-2Csk


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